October 11, 2018 / 5:20 PM / in 9 days

U.S. senator: journalist's death may merit sanctions at "highest" level of Saudi govt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Thursday that sanctions would have to be imposed at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government if it were found that the government was behind the disappearance and reported death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as Turkish investigators prepared to enter the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was last seen.

“If it turns out to be what we all think it is today but don’t know, there will have to be significant sanctions placed at the highest levels,” Republican Senator Bob Corker told reporters at the U.S. Capitol.

Global pressure has mounted on close U.S. ally Saudi Arabia over the whereabouts of Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies, who entered the consulate to get documents for his planned marriage last week. His Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside, said he never re-appeared.

“I have to find out what happened ... and we’re probably getting closer than you might think,” President Trump said in an interview on the Fox News “Fox & Friends” television programme.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Clive McKeef

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