Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

No reason to question Saudi Arabia's investigation of Khashoggi's case

AFP  Getty Images AFP Getty Images
Gerardo Duncan | 28 October, 2018, 09:03

Speaking with Turkish television network Haberturk in her first interview since Khashoggi's death, Hatice Cengiz said she "died every day" since Khashoggi was killed by Saudi officials inside the country's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Saudi Arabia is the lynchpin of a US-backed regional bloc against growing Iranian influence in the Middle East but the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul on october 2. has prompted a global outcry and strained Riyadh's ties with the West.

Mattis said that even as the USA moves forward with additional punitive measures in the wake of the murder, it will continue to support a "people to people partnership" with Saudi Arabia, a statement notable for its lack of mention of MBS.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist who had criticized policies of powerful Prince Mohammed, had been self-exiled in the United States for about a year.

The developments came after the kingdom on October 25 cited evidence showing Khashoggi's killing was premeditated, changing its story again to try to ease worldwide outrage over the slaying of a prominent critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all greatly", Mattis said, indicating the issue could have potential ramifications for the USA relationship with Saudi Arabia.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin has gone against Western leader's response and said today he does not doubt Saudi Arabia's account after being reassured in a phone call with Saudi King Salman that he would make sure the guilty parties, "receive their punishment". "They're detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia", he added.

"One is what we stand for in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries and the other is what Iran stands for", he said.

In interview with Turkey's Habertürk TV, Cengiz, who is a Turkish national and doctoral student, said of Trump's invitation, "I perceived it as a statement to win public favor".

"We expect our request (for the suspects') return to be fulfilled because this atrocious event took place in Turkey", said Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul.

Erdogan on Friday called on Riyadh to reveal who ordered the killing and the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body.

Mattis said more measures would follow.

Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel, who was in Turkey earlier this week to review evidence, briefed U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Thursday.

It has also launched an ad campaign aimed at Saudi Arabia, and on Thursday dedicated a full page of the newspaper to a photograph of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman alongside the words "demand the truth".

"They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups", he told reporters last week.

While he did not mention Saudi Arabia directly, he did acknowledge the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had revoked visas of those implicated.

France and Germany's leaders said Saturday they want a "coordinated" European position for sanctions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

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