Trump Uses Arms Sales To Justify Saudi Ties

President Trump says military contracts with Saudi Arabia won't be blocked over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The President said he was putting America First by refusing to ban weapon sales (Picture: Gage Skidmore).

Donald Trump has insisted he won't cancel military contracts with Saudi Arabia.

That's despite suggesting that the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, may have known about the plan to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The president condemned the killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as a "horrible crime that our country does not condone".

But he rejected calls for a tougher response and he dismissed reports from US intelligence agencies that the crown prince must have at least known about the plot. He said:

"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event, maybe he did and maybe he didn't."

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammad bin Salman is greeted by Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street in March 2018 (Picture: PA).
The Prime Minister met the Crown Prince in March (Picture: PA).

The US President said he was putting 'America first' by continuing to supply weapons to the Saudis.

He said "foolishly cancelling these contracts" worth billions of dollars would only benefit Russia and China, which 'would be next in line to supply the weapons'.

Germany stopped arms sales to Saudi Arabia yesterday, including sales that had previously been approved because of the fallout from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia is a key ally and significant trading partner of Britain. There has been pressure on Theresa May to stop arms sales but that has not yet happened.

Mr Trump told reporters that oil prices would "skyrocket" if the US broke with the Saudis and he was not going to "destroy" the world's economy by being "foolish with Saudi Arabia".

Mr Trump said that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed both "vigorously deny" any knowledge of the planning or execution of the killing.