Saudi Arabia calls Khashoggi killing 'grave mistake,' says prince not aware

22 October, 2018, 07:11 | Author: Sheila Harris

The foreign minister said Saudi Arabia's investigation into Khashoggi's death was still in its early stages.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told Fox News' Bret Baier on Sunday that Khashoggi's death was part of a "rogue operation" and that 18 people implicated in his slaying would be punished.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday vowed to reveal within days the "naked truth" over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as Riyadh insisted it did not know the whereabouts of his body and that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had been unaware of any operation to kill him.

The Khashoggi case has opened a serious new rift with European partners Britain, France and Germany saying in a joint statement earlier that Saudi Arabia must clarify how Khashoggi died inside its Istanbul consulate, and its account must "be backed by facts to be considered credible". "On the other hand you cannot teach a 33-year-old crown prince that he can get away with things that have this outrageous and stupid or he will be out of control for the next 40 years".

But following "reports we were getting from Turkey", Saudi authorities began an investigation, which discovered "he was killed in the consulate".

Also Sunday, images that were obtained by TRT World, a Turkish news channel that broadcasts in English, showed Khashoggi as he arrived at a police barrier before entering the consulate on October 2.

In a Washington Post interview on Saturday, US President Donald Trump said there had been "deception" and "lies" in Saudi Arabia's explanation, having previously said he found their narrative to be credible.

Barring an unlikely "confession" from Prince Mohammed, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said Sunday, "the president is going to accept the crown prince's denials like he's accepted Mr Putin's denials and Kim Jong Un's denials".

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"The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority", he said.

Trump has repeatedly said over the last week that he opposes any effort to impede more than $100 billion in US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but that he would consider sanctions on the kingdom.

"Khashoggi was detained by the Saudi team inside the consulate building".

"We can feel their pain and we wish this didn't happen and I wish that this could have been avoided", he said. He initially said he believed the Saudi account.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she backs a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi. King Salman, 82, has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to him.

In a statement Sunday, the governments said attacks on journalists are unacceptable and "of utmost concern to our three nations". "Yes, I think he did it", Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN, referring to the crown prince.

A longtime USA critic of Saudi Arabia says he feels certain that Crown Prince Mohammed directed the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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