Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Mnuchin says premature to comment on sanctions against Saudi Arabia

Mnuchin says premature to comment on sanctions against Saudi Arabia

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Fox News on Sunday, Adel al-Jubeir said Khashoggi's killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul nearly three weeks ago was "a bad tragedy" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) had nothing to do with.

As Saudi Arabia's closest Arab allies rushed to its defense on Saturday, the results of the Saudi investigation were being greeted with skepticism or derision by others, including several USA lawmakers and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Saudi state media initially claimed that Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate alive, while Turkish officials claimed early on that Khashoggi had been killed.

"It's hard to find this latest "explanation" as credible", he added. The journalist has relatives still living in Saudi Arabia and three children who hold United States citizenship.

Ankara said it had a "debt of honour" to reveal what happened.

"I don't think we should meddle and pick up the pieces in the situation with the Saudi journalist", Peskov said.

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?" The kingdom also said that 18 suspects were in custody and that intelligence officials had been fired. Photos show several Saudi operatives present at the consulate had been part of the crown prince's security detail at various times, including during a tour of the USA a year ago.

Saudi Arabia has denied Turkish allegations that Mr Khashoggi was murdered and his body removed from the consulate after he entered on October 2. "There must be a severe price for these actions by Saudi Arabia".

"We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don't accept anything to remain covered (up)", said ruling Justice and Development Party spokesman Omer Celik.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement Saturday night that the Saudis' "explanations" of the killing of Khashoggi "lack consistency and credibility".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday that she supports a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia. But critics believe the complex scheme that led to Khashoggi's death could not have occurred without the knowledge of bin Salman.

The Times also cited a report by the consultancy firm McKinsey & Co that discussed public perception of economic austerity measures announced by Saudi Arabia in 2015.

Saudi foreign minister pledges full probe into Khashoggi killing
A team totaling 15 Saudis, who flew into Istanbul on October 1 and 2, met on the morning of October 2 before Khashoggi's arrival. The sources' claim echoes a statement by Doğu Perinçek, leader of the left-wing Vatan party on Monday night.

Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and royal court insider for decades in Saudi Arabia, had written columns critical of Prince Mohammed and the kingdom's direction while living in self-imposed exile in the U.S.

Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi's fiancee, posted a short video of him on Twitter on Saturday, depicting a light moment when a cat jumped onto his lap during an interview.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the European Union and numerous European officials condemned Khashoggi's killing and called for a thorough and transparent investigation, with accountability for those involved.

Standing outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the head of a media group said the "authority that gave the orders" in the killing of Khashoggi should be punished.

The president said he is also speaking with states where jobs could be impacted.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the USA will advocate for justice in the Khashoggi case that is "timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process".

Jubeir had extended condolences to Khashoggi's family earlier on Sunday.

What happened to Jamal Khashoggi?

Skeptics have asked why so many people, including military officers and a forensics expert specializing in autopsies, were part of the operation if the objective was to convince Khashoggi to return home of his own volition.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has said 18 persons have been arrested and an in-depth investigation into the case is being conducted.

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