Khashoggi Killing: Saudi crown prince breaks silence, says killing was ‘heinous’ crime

Saudi prince talks about Khashoggi killing at Future Investment summit. Source: CNN

Mohammed bin Salman also said those responsible for the killing would be brought to justice

Highlights

  • Saudi prince described the killing as a ‘heinous’ crime
  • He said those responsible will be brought to justice
  • This comes after his closest aides were implicated in the killing

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday described the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi as a “heinous” crime in his first comments since some of his closest aides were implicated in the Saudi journalist’s death.

“This was a very, very painful incident for all Saudis and also for everybody on this planet. It was unnecessary,” he said.

Khashoggi explainer: All you need to know about the case

The crisis has presented a threat to bin Salman in a way that a bloody war in Yemen, the alleged abduction of the Lebanese Prime Minister and a crackdown on dissent at home have not. After Saudi Arabia admitted over the weekend that Khashoggi was killed October 2 in its Istanbul consulate, five high-ranking officials were dismissed, including bin Salman’s media chief and the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence service. Eighteen people were arrested.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, he said that “some people are trying to seize this painful moment to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey”.

He continued: “I want to send them a message: You will not be able to do that as long as we have a king called Salman bin Abdulaziz and a crown prince called Mohammed bin Salman and a Turkish president named Erdogan.

“The rift will never be created. We will prove to the entire world that the both countries are cooperating to punish all perpetrators and justice will be above everything.”

Trump implies MBS may be involved

MBS’ remarks on Wednesday came a day after US President Donald Trump for the first time implied that the crown prince may have had a role in the killing.

Saudi Arabia has come under increasing pressure over the killing, which has also strained ties with other key Western allies.

Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince, vanished after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

After Riyadh first denied any involvement in his disappearance, it eventually admitted its officials killed the journalist, attributing the death to a chokehold.

Erdogan on Tuesday dismissed Saudi efforts to blame Khashoggi’s death on rogue operatives, calling the operation a planned, “savage killing”, and demanded Riyadh punish those responsible, no matter how highly placed.

CIA director Gina Haspel is set to brief President Trump on the investigation into the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

This come after the President increasingly expresses frustration with the Saudi response and the country’s crown prince vows “justice” for the journalist’s killers.