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Killing of Jamal Khashoggi was 'rogue operation' says Saudi foreign minister

23 October 2018

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But Turkey's reaction is being especially closely watched, because Turkish authorities are said to possess evidence, including audio recordings, that could reveal exactly how Khashoggi died.

The Saudi stock market is down about 4 per cent since Khashoggi disappeared on Oct 2.

Khashoggi was ushered into the consul general's office where an operative named Maher Mutreb spoke to him about returning to Saudi Arabia, according to the government's account.

Turkish government sources have claimed that Khashoggi (pictured), a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was tortured and murdered by a hit squad flown in from Riyadh.

The comments from Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir were some of the most direct yet from Riyadh which has given multiple and conflicting accounts about Khashoggi's killing on Oct.2, first denying his death before admitting it on Saturday amid an global outcry. Two of Mohammed's close advisers were among those fired.

US President Donald Trump accused Saudi Arabia of lying about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, his strongest comments to date on the affair, as pressure built Sunday on the administration to identify and punish those responsible.

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A longtime USA critic of Saudi Arabia says he feels certain that Crown Prince Mohammed directed the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "We know that. We need to have shared principles about what we need to get done if we rely on them in particular ways".

"Their stories are all over the place", Trump said. Yes, I think he did it. Let's finish this investigation, we have the best in the world at being able to do that. He also said that once the investigation is over and those responsible are punished, he predicts the US-Saudi relationship will "weather" this.

Trump emphasised the importance of the US-Saudi relationship to Washington's regional strategic goals.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California said Saudi Arabia's claim that Mr Khashoggi died in a brawl was not credible. It has threatened the kingdom's business relationships, with several senior executives and government officials shunning an investor conference in Riyadh scheduled for next week and some U.S. lawmakers putting pressure on Trump to impose sanctions and stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Turkey is conducting a separate investigation into the journalist's death.

Merkel and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued a statement saying: "We expect transparency from Saudi Arabia about the circumstances of his death".

"There's no way 15 people were sent from Saudi Arabia to Turkey to kill a dissident without the approval of the crown prince".

Since the news of Khashoggi's disappearance came out, Trump indicated that he would consider sanctions or other means to penalize Saudi Arabia, but wouldn't want to cancel the $450 billion in purchases and investments the kingdom promised the United States, which includes a $110 billion arms contract.

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Fred Ryan, The Washington Post's publisher and chief executive, called the Saudi explanation a "coverup".

Saudi Arabia finally admitted on Friday that Khashoggi was killed after he entered the consulate on October 2.

Still Trump has offered kind words for Mohammed bin Salman, and his father, King Salman, repeating their denials that they were involved in Khashoggi's killing. This is not an explanation; it is a coverup.

He said he planned to consult with Congress to devise a response.

The kingdom's closest Arab allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, have pledged their support.

The crown prince has denied any involvement. When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations "baseless".

"This is not over".

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He said Khashoggi was approached by a "Saudi security team" when he entered the consulate and their account of what happened after that differed from that of Turkish officials, which prompted the Saudis to investigate. "We feel their pain", he said.

Killing of Jamal Khashoggi was 'rogue operation' says Saudi foreign minister