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Trump wants to know more about Saudi journalist’s death

Saudi Arabia’s explanation over Jamal Khashoggi’s death has sparked allegations of a cover-up intended to shield the powerful crown prince.

President Donald Trump has said he needs to learn more about the killing of a Saudi journalist and will be working with Congress on the US response.

Speaking after a campaign rally in Nevada, Mr Trump said he will be talking to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman soon.

Saudi authorities announced that Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a fight with officials there.

That explanation has sparked allegations of a cover-up intended to shield the powerful crown prince.

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Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Mr Trump initially said he believed the Saudi account, but has now said he still does not know where Mr Khashoggi’s body is.

The president said: “We’d like to find out where it is and what happened… And I think we’re inching our way there.”

It comes as Germany’s foreign minister called into question the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

Heiko Maas told German public broadcaster ARD that “as long as these investigations continue, as long as we don’t know what happened there, there’s no basis for reaching positive decisions on arms exports to Saudi Arabia”.

Mr Maas spoke after he and Chancellor Angela Merkel released a joint statement calling on Saudi Arabia to hold to account those responsible for the Washington Post columnist’s death.

Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest buyers of German arms.

Asked whether German companies should decline attending a business conference in Saudi Arabia next week, Mr Maas said he “certainly wouldn’t” be attending any events in Riyadh at the moment.

The European Union said the emerging details of Mr Khashoggi’s death are “deeply troubling” and that a “continued thorough, credible and transparent investigation” is needed.

The EU said the continuing investigation should bring “proper clarity on the circumstances of the killing and ensure full accountability of all those responsible for it”.

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