Published: Mon, October 22, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Erdogan, Trump hold phone conversation on Khashoggi

Erdogan, Trump hold phone conversation on Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister denied on Sunday that the nation's powerful young crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi's killing, but the attempt to distance Mohammed bin Salman from the journalist's demise did little to blunt an worldwide uproar that could test Saudi Arabia's status as a regional power.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir says the kingdom did not know where the body of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi was, despite admitting to the killing and calling it a "tremendous mistake".

Newspaper publishers and editors around the world are demanding Saudi Arabia provide immediate answers in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "Unfortunately, a huge and grave mistake was made and I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable for this".

Jubeir was the first senior Saudi official to speak on the record on the matter after Saudi Arabia admitted on Saturday that Khashoggi was dead.

On Saturday, the Saudi authorities said that Khashoggi died in the course of a "fight" with agents who were trying to interrogate him in the legation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the suspension of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia on the grounds that they can not be done under the "current circumstances", in reference to the Khashoggi case.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to President Donald Trump and both agreed that the Khashoggi case needs to be clarified "in all its aspects".

Turkish police believe The Washington Post columnist was murdered and dismembered shortly after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2; Turkish media have reported that a 15-man hit team was sent from Riyadh specifically for the assignment.

One Saudi official said that Mr Khashoggi was accidentally strangled when he was being restrained.

"If Saudi state involvement is indeed proven, the worldwide community must stand firm in its stated resolve to insist on the highest level of investigation and punishment for those responsible - both for the perpetrators of this horrendous crime and the masterminds who ordered it". South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday "I find it impossible to believe that the Crown Prince was not involved".

Earlier this week German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that there was "no basis" to continue arms sales to Saudi Arabia "as long as we don't know what happened".

A security guard stands outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on Saturday.

Jubeir's contention that the Saudi government did not know precisely what happened to Khashoggi in the consulate - after the kingdom had previously announced that he was killed in a fistfight - was the latest in a series of shifting explanations by Saudi officials since Khashoggi disappeared.

The Chancellor pointed out that Germany firmly condemned the murder of Khashoggi - an event that took place within the Saudi consulate in Turkey's Istanbul - and called for a thorough investigation into the incident. He initially said he believed the Saudi account. "And I think we're inching our way there".

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