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Trump: US needs Saudi Arabia in fight against terrorism

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LONDON: Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the US needs Saudi Arabia in the fight against terrorism and that he did not want to walk away from the Kingdom.

His comments came after US Secretary of Sate Mike Pompeo met the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Erdogan made clear that Saudi Arabia is cooperating in the investigation, Pompeo said, the day after he met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

"You know we need Saudi Arabia in terms of our fight against all of the terrorism, everything that's happening in Iran and other places,” Trump told Fox Business in response to questions about the Khashoggi case.

The US president said he did not want to walk away from Saudi Arabia.

“They have a tremendous order, $110 billion,” he said, in reference to US arms sales to the Kingdom.

Trump said later on Wednesday the US had asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence it may have related to the case but was not sure whether any such evidence exists.

"We have asked for it, if it exists ... I'm not sure yet that it exists," Trump said at the White House. "I'll have a full report on that from Mike (Pompeo) when he comes back."

On Tuesday, Trump criticized global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s disappearance, warning of a rush to judgment and echoing the Kingdom’s request for patience.

Khashoggi, who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to complete paperwork related to his divorce.

Saudi Arabia, which denies any involvement in the kidnapping or killing of Khashoggi, has set up a joint team to investigate the disappearance with Turkey.

As he returned to the US from Turkey, Pompeo said President Erdogan “made clear that the Saudis had cooperated with the investigation that the Turks are engaged in and they are going to share information.”

“There have been a couple of delays but they seemed pretty confident that the Saudis would permit them to do the things they need to do to complete their thorough and complete investigation,” he said.

He added that the US must be mindful of the important business and government ties with the Kingdom, once the facts of the case have been determined.
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