Minister says Khashoggi killers ‘will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabi’

Gina Haspel

Image CIA chief Gina Haspel has heard audio recording of Mr Khashoggi's death

Mattis, speaking to an worldwide security conference on Saturday, never mentioned Saudi Arabia directly in connection with the October 2 killing of Khashoggi, a Virginia resident who was a columnist for The Washington Post, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, reports The New York Times.

More than two dozen top officials and executives from the United States and Europe, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and chief executives of big banks, boycotted the investment conference over the killing of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

"It was a very painful incident for all the Saudis and for all on this planet".

The United States is committed to "holding accountable" those responsible for killing Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, whose death "undermines regional stability", Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 18 suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia over the killing should be extradited to Turkey to face the trial.

Legit.ng gathers that the minister said investigation into the murder of the journalist would take time.

Jubeir said ties between Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, and the United States are "ironclad" and praised what he described as the "rational, realistic" foreign policy of the current U.S. administration.

"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", Mattis said in remarks to the annual Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain. He lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for almost a year before his death, had written critically of Prince Mohammed's crackdown on dissent.

Such behaviour undermines stability in the Middle East at a time when the region needs it most, said the top USA official in Bahrain while speaking at a security conference with top Saudi officials in attendance, including the kingdom's Foreign Minister. The next wave of United States sanctions against Iran are due to come into effect on Nov 4.

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The Saudi foreign minister's comments came after Turkey called for the extradition of 18 men suspected of murdering Khashoggi.

"Whether or not they acted in the name of the state, that remains to be discussed and investigated", she said.

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

But the body of Khashoggi, who was once an insider in Saudi royal circles, remains missing.

Erdogan has said that Turkey would reveal more evidence about the killing but was not in any rush to do so, indicating that Turkish authorities will methodically increase pressure on Saudi Arabia even as the kingdom floats conflicting statements in a vain and often clumsy attempt to end the quandary.

Trump has condemned Saudi Arabia's shifting account of the killing of Khashoggi as "the worst cover-up ever".

Macron had previously insisted there was no moral link to be made between Khashoggi's death at the beginning of this month and Saudi Arabia's purchase of French-made weapons.

"I demand that all those involved in this savagery from the highest to the lowest levels are punished and brought to justice", Cengiz told the Haberturk television station.

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