Saudi Arabia admits 'grave mistake' over journalist's death

2018-10-23 08:42:53Xinhua Editor : Gu Liping ECNS App Download

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a "huge and grave mistake," while insisting on the innocence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi Public Prosecution announced on Friday the death of the Saudi journalist amid growing pressure from some western countries on the kingdom to explain the disappearance of the missing journalist following a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to complete paperwork for an upcoming marriage.


Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed on Sunday called Saleh Khashoggi, Khashoggi's son, to extend their condolences to him and his family over the journalist's death.

In an interview with Fox News, al-Jubeir called the killing of Khashoggi "a rogue operation," saying that "this was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had. They made the mistake when whey killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it."

Khashoggi was a 59-year-old Washington Post's columnist who had been living in the United States since he fled the kingdom in Sept. 2017.

Turkish authorities have conducted investigations ever since Khashoggi's disappearance, saying that the missing journalist hadn't left the Saudi consulate, and 15 Saudis who traveled to Istanbul were involved in his disappearance.

In contrasting opinion to the Turkish side, Saudi officials insisted that Khashoggi had left the building. Saudi Arabia's crown prince welcomed Turkey to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, noting that "we have nothing to hide."

A reversal came on Friday as the initial investigations by the Saudi Public Prosecution revealed that Khashoggi had a physical fight with those he met at the consulate, which led to his death in the compound, resulting in the arrest of 18 people.

Shortly after the announcement of Khashoggi's murder, the Saudi king issued orders to dismiss the deputy head of the country's primary intelligence agency and an advisor at the Royal Court, and terminated the services of three senior intelligence officers.


The dramatic twists of the case have attracted widespread attention around the world, and instead of relieving the already existing pressure on the Saudi government from some western countries, the latest explanations over the death of the journalist have led to rising suspicions and criticism of the kingdom.

"I think we really need to discontinue our arms sales to Saudi Arabia and have a long and serious discussion about whether or not they want to be an ally or they want to be an enemy," U.S. Republican senator Rand Paul said in an interview, adding that he did not believe Saudi Arabia's words.

However, the tough stance by some U.S. senators may be at odds with the remarks from the White House. While promising to work with Congress on what the U.S. response should be, U.S. President Donald Trump indicated that he'd prefer not to hurt American companies and jobs by cutting billions of dollars in arms sales to the kingdom.

Meanwhile, some allies of the United States have taken actual steps to express their dissatisfaction with the kingdom.

"There is an urgent need to further clarify what happened by the Saudi authorities. We are far from this having been cleared up and those responsible should be held to account," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday, adding that Germany will not sell arms to Saudi Arabia while the death of Khashoggi remains unclear.

France and Britain also issued statements to condemn the killing of Khashoggi, asking for further clarification of exactly what happened.

Playing an indispensable role in the progress of the case, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that he would make statements about the murdered journalist during his party's group meeting at the parliament on Tuesday.

"Why did 15 people come here and why were 18 people arrested? I'm going to tell you in a very different way on Tuesday. We're going to go into detail," Erdogan said, noting that Turkey will seek justice and reveal the "naked truth."


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