Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Saudi arrests over Jamal Khashoggi death 'a good first step'

Saudi arrests over Jamal Khashoggi death 'a good first step'

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi earlier this month at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a "rogue operation" and an "aberration". He added that he plans on speaking with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

On march 20, 2018, Donald Trump praises to the White House his "great friendship" with the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and expressed his hope that the kingdom would become "a part of (his) wealth in the United States in the form of jobs and purchases of military equipment".

The comments from Adel al-Jubeir on Fox News were some of the most direct yet from Riyadh, which has given multiple and conflicting statements about Khashoggi's killing on October 2.

Saudi officials said on Saturday that Washington Post columnist Khashoggi died in a fight in its Istanbul consulate.

"Yet, on the other, ministers are quite rightly sceptical over Saudi Arabia's ability to properly investigate over a high-profile case like Jamal Khashoggi".

An increasingly vocal chorus of worldwide voices is questioning the Saudi version of events that led to the death of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country's consulate in Istanbul nearly three weeks ago.

Turkish sources say the authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting Khashoggi's murder inside 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. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold.

But a series of United States lawmakers of both parties expressed doubt, demanding a stronger stance against the longtime United States regional partner.

In a statement Friday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the us will closely follow worldwide investigations into Khashoggi's death and will advocate for justice that is "timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process". For weeks, Saudi Arabia had denied any knowledge of his whereabouts and insisted that he had walked out of the consulate unharmed. "We don't know where the body is", Jubeir said.

Trump has repeatedly said that he opposes any effort to jeopardize more than $100 billion in US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but that he would consider sanctions on the kingdom.

The UK's Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the Gulf kingdom's explanation for the death of the dissident journalist is "not credible".

But Trump, who has made close ties with Saudi Arabia a centrepiece of his foreign policy, said in Arizona: "I think it's a good first step, it's a big step".

Sawyers said the fate of Khashoggi - whom Turkish authorities say was killed inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul - was a wake-up call to the Trump administration about "just how unsafe it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with United States".

When asked if Congress would take action, Connolly said there was sufficient bipartisan "outrage", but still criticized Trump's handling of the incident from the beginning.

Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman called on the administration to take a stronger stance in responding to Khashoggi's death. He also said Prince Mohammed was not responsible. Eighteen Saudi nationals had been arrested, the prosecutor said in a statement. "We feel their pain".

Deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, a senior aide to the Crown Prince, have both been sacked.

"Do I think he did it?"

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