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Saudi Crown Prince Breaks Silence on Khashoggi Killing

Mohammed bin Salman calls it a 'heinous crime'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2018 3:34 PM CDT
In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman addresses the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.   (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

(Newser) – For three weeks, Saudi Arabia's crown prince said nothing publicly about the death of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. That changed Wednesday when Mohammed bin Salman called Khashoggi's killing a "heinous crime that cannot be justified." Bin Salman, speaking at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, was responding to a question from a moderator, and the Guardian notes that his addressing of the issue "lifted a subdued mood" at the conference, which has been boycotted by many in the international business community in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance and death and where attendees were concerned bin Salman would not address what one called "the humongous elephant in the room." Bin Salman assured the audience that "justice would prevail" and that those responsible for the attack would be punished.

Turkish authorities say four members of the prince's own security staff are among the 18 people who allegedly killed and dismembered Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite accusing some of the "highest ranked" Saudis of being involved, has not mentioned bin Salman by name. One of his advisers, however, did say Tuesday that bin Salman has "blood on his hands." The prince on Wednesday distanced himself from those alleged to have been involved, and said Saudi Arabia is working with Turkey on the matter. He cautioned against anyone trying to "manipulate" the situation, the AP reports: "They will not be able to divide us as long as there is a king called King Salman bin Abdulaziz and a crown prince named Mohammed bin Salman, and a president in Turkey named Erdogan." US President Trump told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that he wants to believe bin Salman did not know about the plan to kill Khashoggi, but "the prince is running things over there more so at this stage ... and so if anybody were going to be in it would be him." (He has also called the incident the "worst cover-up ever.")

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