Saudi FM reaffirms commitment to full investigation into Khashoggi killing

Clay Curtis
October 24, 2018

After more than two weeks of near silence, Saudi Arabia on Saturday finally admitted that Khashoggi, 59, was killed in their Istanbul consulate.

He told MPs: 'We have an important strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia involving defence and security co-operation which has saved lives on the streets of Britain. "Countries around the world need to know that there are things they simply can not do, and killing a journalist who disagrees with the regime is right up there at the top of it".

U.S. president Donald Trump said he is not satisfied with the explanations he has heard about Mr Khashoggi's death.

"We're making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence", Pompeo said.

Saudi Arabia's initial denial and then perceived cover-up of events have created a diplomatic crisis for the kingdom as western allies have expressed scepticism over Riyadh's version of events, pulling out of a large foreign investment conference in Riyadh that began on Tuesday and triggering calls from the US Congress to reevaluate the close political friendship between the Trump administration and Bin Salman.

The secretary of state also told reporters at the State Department that the USA has identified some of the people "who we suspect to be responsible" for Khashoggi's death.

Over the weekend, the Saudis' explanation continued to evolve with a Saudi official's telling ABC News that Khashoggi died when he was "placed in a chokehold position" to stop him from leaving the consulate and calling for help.

"Those partners who are here with us today to continue that journey with us are certainly going to look back and find out. how committed the kingdom is to its partners that stay the course", al-Falih said, just moments before several deals were inked on stage. Why wasn't the consulate open to the investigation until many days later?

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A man who looked like Khashoggi, wearing his outfit, glasses and a fake beard, was among a group who left the consulate the same day as the killing, the president added. He also said the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body were still unknown and he demanded Saudi Arabia reveal the identity of a "local co-operator" who purportedly took the body.

"My demand is that 18 people be tried in Istanbul", he said, adding that "all those who played a role in the murder" had to face punishment.

"It is unacceptable and unthinkable that someone could have murdered a journalist on foreign soil like this, that is something that the global community cannot stand for", Trudeau said Tuesday, in an interview where he referred to the Saudi "regime" and said explanations for Khashoggi's death lack credibility.

Saudi officials said they suspect his body was rolled up in a carpet and handed to another party to dispose of the evidence.

Mr Erdogan called for an independent commission to be set up but said he was confident in King Salman's full co-operation.

A team totaling 15 Saudis, who flew into Istanbul on October 1 and 2, met on the morning of October 2 before Khashoggi's arrival.

Mr Erdogan also spoke to family members by phone on Tuesday, offering condolences and saying he would do all he could to solve the murder.

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