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The US has no ambassadors in Turkey or Saudi Arabia to handle a journalist’s disappearance

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have no US ambassadors in the Khashoggi crisis
Quartz
There’s no US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and 54 other countries (some not visible in map above).
By Max de Haldevang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

President Donald Trump says the US is being “very tough” in dealing with the disappearance of a Saudi journalist in Saudi Arabia’s Turkish embassy. There’s a snag, though: The US doesn’t have an ambassador in either Ankara or Riyadh to handle the crisis.

The New York Times and Washington Post (paywalls) report that Turkish officials believe Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist based in the US who in the past year has become critical of the Saudi monarchy, was killed in the embassy. US intelligence reports say Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman signed off on a plot to abduct him, reports the Washington Post, where Khashoggi was a contributor.

Trump offered his take on the situation to Fox News this morning: “We don’t like it. I don’t like it. No good.”

In a fiery exchange with a reporter yesterday, US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino insisted that “senior diplomatic officials” were “very much in charge” of the situation, despite the absence of ambassadors to both countries. He seemed to blame the Senate for not having confirmed people to the positions—despite no one having been nominated for either job.

The two US allies are far from the only important powers not to have a US ambassador in place. The Trump administration has struggled to fill major State Department positions, after swaths of top Republican foreign policy figures signed a letter (paywall) warning against Trump during the campaign. In total, 56 countries have no US ambassadors—with vacancies in key places like Mexico, Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, the UAE, and South Africa.

Here’s a full list of absentees.

1
Albania
2
Australia
3
Azerbaijan
4
Bahamas
5
Belarus
6
Belize
7
Bolivia
8
Botswana
9
Brunei
10
Central African Republic
11
Chad
12
Comoros
13
Cote D’Ivoire
14
Cuba
15
Egypt
16
Eritrea
17
Estonia
18
Fiji
19
Gambia
20
Ghana
21
Goergia
22
Honduras
23
Iceland
24
Ireland
25
Jamaica
26
Jordan
27
Kiribati
28
Libya
29
Madagascar
30
Maldives
31
Malta
32
Mexico
33
Mongolia
34
Morocco
35
Nauru
36
Pakistan
37
Panama
38
Qatar
39
Saudi Arabia
40
Singapore
41
Slovenia
42
Somalia
43
South Africa
44
Sri Lanka
45
Sudan
46
Suriname
47
Sweden
48
Syria
49
Tajikistan
50
Tanzania
51
Thailand
52
Tonga
53
Turkey
54
Tuvalu
55
United Arab Emirates
56
Venezuela

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