Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmane on Wednesday described the murder of Saudi journalist and opponent Jamal Khashoggi as a “hate crime” at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by a team of fifteen Saudi killers, whose Turkish press revealed links with Mohammed ben Salmane, known as MBS.
The Crown Prince made the remarks at an international forum on investment in Riyadh.
Those behind this crime will have to be accountable […] and in the end justice will prevail.
The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed ben Salman
Earlier, MBS had held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the first telephone conversation between the two men since the killing of Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 at the Saudi consulate.
During their conversation, which took place “at the request” of the Crown Prince, the two leaders discussed “joint efforts to clarify all aspects of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and measures to be taken in this context,” according to this source.
The strong man of Saudi Arabia felt that there would be “no break ties with Turkey”.
Washington has increased pressure on its Saudi ally by calling the Saudi attempt to conceal the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “a total fiasco .”
This is the first time that Prince Mohammed, 33, considered the strongman of the Saudi Kingdom, has been speaking publicly since the beginning of the crisis that arose from the “political assassination” of Khashoggi, in the words of the Turkish president. Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In Iran, Saudi Arabia’s great regional rival, President Hassan Rohani said Wednesday in the Council of Ministers that it was unthinkable that a country “dares to commit such a crime without the support of the United States.”
The organizers of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum, which opened Tuesday in Riyadh, ranked MBS among the keynote speakers on the second day of the conference, boycotted by Western political leaders and business leaders.
The crown prince, who made a brief appearance on Tuesday at the IFI, is scheduled to join a group of stakeholders on Wednesday along with Lebanon’s prime minister-designate Saad Hariri, who had suddenly announced his resignation in November 2017 from the Saudi capital. This sparked rumors that he was being held against his will.
Cascade cancellations to the FII
The Riyadh Economic Conference, dubbed the “Davos of the Desert” by the press, was totally eclipsed by the international outcry over the October 2 killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Information that the killing was ordered by the Saudi authorities resulted in cascading cancellations to the IFI.
The scandal has tarnished the image of Prince Mohammed who, according to President Donald Trump, denied any involvement in the killing of Khashoggi. Riyadh announced last Saturday arrests and dismissals, including within the intelligence services.
The Saudi organizers of the IFI have striven to show that business is running its course, announcing 12 “megaprojects” worth more than $ 50 billion, particularly in the oil, gas and infrastructure sectors.
“These are difficult days. We are in a crisis, “admitted Saudi Energy Minister Khaled Al-Faleh to the participants. The killing of Khashoggi “is abominable and no one in the Kingdom can justify it,” he added.
Saudi Arabia had initially claimed that Khashoggi had left freely after going to the consulate for administrative steps to marry a Turkish woman.
However, as international pressure mounted, the Kingdom admitted Saturday that it had died inside the diplomatic mission following a “brawl”, prompting a wave of skepticism in the West and calls for a “credible and transparent” investigation.
New American sanctions coming soon
President Trump said Tuesday that the Saudi cover-up operation, “one of the worst in history,” had been a “total fiasco.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he believes that the Saudi Crown Prince could be involved in the operation that led to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Asked about the prince’s possible involvement, Donald Trump replied, “Well, the prince is running the business over there, especially at this point. If it had to be someone, it would be him.
The US president is also convinced that King Salman, the prince’s father, was not informed in advance of the operation.
At the same time, the United States announced that it would revoke visas for Saudis involved in the assassination of Khashoggi.
The cancellation of visas, the first concrete decision announced by Washington against its long-standing ally, targets 21 people who are revoked or banned from applying for one, said Heather Nauert, the spokesperson. from the US State Department.
“These sanctions will not be the last word of the United States on this issue,” said the head of the American diplomacy Mike Pompeo.
For his part, the spokesman of the French government, Benjamin Griveaux, said that Paris will take “adequate sanctions” if the responsibility of the Saudi authorities in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is proven and is corroborated by the French intelligence services. The sanctions would not only cover the sale of arms in Riyadh.
“It’s not over,” says Erdogan
The Turkish president, for his part, declared that the operation against Khashoggi was carefully prepared and that it was a “premeditated” crime. Erdogan called for punishing “everyone involved, from the executors to the sponsors.”
On Wednesday, he broke the nail: “We have unraveled, dismantled all of this piece by piece” and “it’s not over.”
A newspaper close to the Turkish government reported that intelligence services in Ankara shared with CIA director Gina Haspel some of the evidence gathered during the investigation.
According to Sabah , one of the leading dailies publishing Turkish “leaks” since the start of the Khashoggi affair, Turkish intelligence services (MIT) have “informed Gina Haspel about the evidence” of the Saudi journalist’s murder .
Khashoggi’s body has still not been found. On Wednesday, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk called for all the light on his murder, “whoever is the author”.
Barry Collins from Columbia University in 2005. Barry grew up in the Uk but moved to The US after school. Barry has written for several major publications including Buzz Feed and the Huffington Post. Barry is a community reporter and also covers world events.