Friday, 19 October, 2018

Crown prince downplays Trump's statement on Saudi military

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
Charlie Simmons | 09 October, 2018, 10:46

The disappearance of Khashoggi, previously a prominent newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia and an adviser to its former head of intelligence, has sparked global concern, particularly after Turkish sources said over the weekend that authorities believed he was killed inside the consulate.

Turkey's state-run news agency, quoting police, has said 15 Saudi nationals arrived in Istanbul aboard two planes and were inside the consulate building when Khashoggi went missing.

A Turkish government source told AFP that police believed Khashoggi was killed at the Istanbul consulate, which Riyadh strongly denied.

Saudi authorities rejected the allegations as "baseless" and said a team of investigators had been sent to the Turkish city to help look into the case. Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee, waits outside the building for several hours with his personal effects including his phone - these are not allowed to be taken inside the diplomatic building - and then calls the police.

President Donald Trump claimed Saudi Arabia would not last two weeks without USA support and therefore should be paying more for defense, but Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman rejected that, saying it would take "2,000 years" for his kingdom to struggle.

The Saudi writer spent a year ago in the U.S.in self-imposed exile, after he fled the kingdom amid a crackdown on intellectuals and activists who criticized the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi is still inside the building, which they can not search without an invitation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Saudis need to provide evidence to support their claim that he left the consulate. Turkish officials have said they fear the columnist was killed there.

"We hope to have results very quickly", he added. He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom, ' Hiatt said in a statement on the United States newspaper's website.

"The entries and exits from the consulate are. all being investigated now and being followed and all departures and arrivals from the airport are all being followed and our police force is controlling them and at the same time various units of our police chasing it", he said.

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On Saturday, the Istanbul-based Saudi consulate was opened up to journalists.

That would bring the PIF's contribution to the two funds to US$90 billion, he said.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and USA resident, had written articles critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In a meeting with The Washington Post's publisher, Fred Ryan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States said Sunday night that it was "impossible" that such a crime could be covered up by consulate employees "and we wouldn't know about it".

Khashoggi has been a vociferous critic of Prince Mohammed's policies in both the Arab and Western press. During that time he has penned regular columns critical of Mohammed bin Salman's crackdown on independent voices at home and his foreign policies overseas.

Mr Al Otaibi said: "I would like to confirm that Jamal is not at the consulate nor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the consulate and the embassy are working to search for him".

He has also criticized Saudi Arabia's role in Yemen, where Riyadh leads a military coalition fighting alongside the government in its war with Iran-backed rebels.

The ultra-conservative kingdom in June lifted a ban on women driving.

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