UK, France, Germany urge facts on Khashoggi death

UK, France, Germany urge facts on Khashoggi death

UK, France, Germany urge facts on Khashoggi death

Saudi Arabia faced a growing chorus of incredulity Sunday, with world powers including Britain and France demanding answers and some American politicians calling for tough, concerted action to punish the Saudi royal family if it were proven to be responsible.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate a "huge and grave mistake", but sought to shield its powerful crown prince from the widening crisis, saying Mohammed bin Salman had not been aware.

On Friday, asked if he believed whether the Saudi explanation that Mr Khashoggi was killed during a "fistfight" with more than a dozen agents was credible, he said: "I do".

Riyadh dispatched a high-level delegation to Istanbul on Tuesday and ordered an internal investigation but US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia's handling of Khashoggi's death and said questions remain unanswered.

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, for two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday said the journalist died in a fistfight at the consulate. "We feel their pain".

A number of Saudi nationals have since been arrested while deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, a senior aide to the Crown Prince, have been dismissed, state TV reported.

Sen. Rand Paul told "Fox News Sunday" that the USA "cannot continue to have relations with him and so I think he's going to have to be replaced".

White House officials said on Sunday that Trump has not changed his belief that the crown prince is a strong leader who is passionate about his country.

Her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, had already said on Saturday that he now saw "no basis for decisions in favour of arms exports to Saudi Arabia".

Saudi authorities have said Khashoggi died in a "brawl" with Saudi officials at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, the latest in a series of conflicting explanations for his death. "They could have brought him down with no trouble at all", adding he believed there was "an intent to kill".

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Mr Jubeir said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was not aware of the incident.

"We also need to think about the fact that Saudi Arabia is a country that is a fairly important country", Corker said.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday admitted that the critic had died in the consulate after "discussions" at Riyadh's mission in Istanbul turned into "a brawl and a fist fight". "The Saudi's latest version of events still isn't credible, and the Trump administration must not be complicit in allowing them to sweep this under the rug".

The Republican senators also broke with Trump by pushing for harsh consequences against Saudi Arabia. But what happened is unacceptable.

Paul said that he doesn't believe that "arms should ever be seen as a jobs program", adding that the Saudis are using US arms in the war in Yemen where civilians are being killed. "It's only a first step, but it's a big first step". An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated.

Mr Trump said he would talk to the Crown Prince "very soon" before deciding what to do next.

Back inside the consul's office, according to the official's account, Khashoggi told Mutreb he was violating diplomatic norms and said, "What are you going to do with me?" We haven't reached that point. "I would love if he wasn't responsible".

In interviews Sunday on CNN's State of the Union and Meet the Press, however, his Republican colleagues in the Senate offered a different view. Sen. Yes, I think he did it. Let's finish this investigation, we have the best in the world at being able to do that.

Trump emphasised the importance of the US-Saudi relationship to Washington's regional strategic goals.

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