Monday, 19 November, 2018

Trump says Saudi prince vows 'full' probe into missing journalist

Mecca view Saudi Cleric Slams'Fabrications Biased Media Campaigns Over Missing JournoCC0
Andy Castillo | 22 October, 2018, 03:25

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance prior to boarding Air Force One for travel to Montana from Joint Base Andrews.

The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul is unlikely to halt Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's rise to power, but could cause irreparable harm to relations with Western governments and businesses, potentially endangering his ambitious reform plans.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top government figures have remained cautious in their public statements, stopping short of pinning the blame on Saudi Arabia and referring instead to the prosecutors' investigation.

This new version of the events that led up to Khashoggi's death contradicts previous explanations from Saudi Arabia, which in a statement on Saturday said he had died in a fist-fight that broke out in the consulate. "We don't blame anyone in advance, but we do not consent to this being covered up", said the ruling party spokesman, Omar Celik, according to the semiofficial Anadolu news agency.

"If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him", said Schiff, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee.

It comes as Germany's foreign minister called into question the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

He also urged Turkey to turn over purported audio recordings of Khashoggi's killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said: "I find it impossible to believe that the Crown Prince was not involved".

Global outrage over Khashoggi's October 2 slaying at the hands of Saudi officials, under still-disputed circumstances, has marked the greatest crisis in the 33-year-old's rapid rise, already tarnished by a catastrophic war in Yemen and a sweeping roundup of Saudi businessmen and activists.

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Senior aides close to the prince have been fired over Khashoggi's killing, and 18 suspects have been arrested.

Responding to a question, the United States president indicated that he would let the Congressmen take lead on the issue of particularly determining the action that needs to be taken against Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia ranked sixth previous year with approved sales of 254 million euros ($292 million), mostly reflecting deliveries of patrol boats, according to a government report published in June.

Her comments build on an earlier response to Saudi Arabia's account that the journalist was killed during an altercation at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi statements on Saturday did not address what happened to the body.

"Do you think I would create something out of the makings of my own mind and without direction?"

Turkish officials believe Khashoggi - a critic of the Saudi government - was murdered and his body dismembered.

Before the Saudi announcements, Trump said he might consider sanctions although he has also appeared unwilling to distance himself too much from the Saudi leadership.

The king also ordered a restructuring of the intelligence service, to be led by Prince Mohammed, suggesting the prince still retained wide-ranging authority.

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