Khashoggi incident ‘very painful, not justifiable’: Saudi crown prince

Khashoggi incident ‘very painful, not justifiable’: Saudi crown prince

Khashoggi incident ‘very painful, not justifiable’: Saudi crown prince

After blanket denials of knowledge of his disappearance, Saudi officials acknowledged over the weekend that Khashoggi had been killed by "rogue" agents inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The incident was very painful for all Saudis".

The evidence of Turkish investigators "indicates that the suspects in the incident had committed their act with a premeditated intention", al-Mojeb said.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has called the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate "repulsive" and vowed that justice will prevail, in his first public comments on a case that has provoked an worldwide outcry.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Oct 24, 2018.

The fallout has damaged Saudi Arabia, badly tarnished Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and raised questions about U.S. foreign policy priorities that hinge on the kingdom's financing or cooperation. A Turkish official said the Washington Post report was accurate.

"We will prove to the world that the two governments (Saudi and Turkish) are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit, and at the end justice will prevail", he said to applause.

Also on Thursday, Human Rights Watch said that Khashoggi's son, Salah, and his family have left Saudi Arabia for the United States after a travel ban on them was lifted.

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Khashoggi was last seen alive entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. Mr Trump said the Khashoggi matter was handled badly by Saudi officials.

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President Donald Trump had spoken on the telephone and agreed that "all aspects" of the case needed to be cleared up. Khashoggi's body, the official added, was rolled up in a carpet and given to a "local cooperator" for disposal.

Erdogan and Bin Salman discussed steps to be taken on the matter.

Trump administration officials and the President himself have couched their growing criticism of Saudi Arabia with caveats about the kingdom's importance as a strategic partner.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Saudi officials made "reconnaissance" trips to the forest as well as the city of Yalova a day before Khashoggi was killed.

Saudi Arabia first denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance but a Saudi official eventually attributed his death on October 2 to a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom.

But Trump suggested that responsibility lay higher up: "Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage".

The prince joked about Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's detention in the kingdom a year ago, saying he was free to leave after attending the worldwide investment conference in Riyadh.

How Western allies deal with Riyadh will hinge on the extent to which they believe responsibility for Khashoggi's death lies directly with the prince and the Saudi authorities.

"Prime Minister Saad is staying in the kingdom for two days, so I hope you don't spread rumours that he was kidnapped", he said during a panel discussion at the event.

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