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Theresa May says Saudi account on Khashoggi lacks credibility

26 Octobre 2018

The bill said that President Donald Trump could request exceptions to the arms sale ban if he also submitted a report on a U.S. investigation into anyone involved in "the murder of journalist and United States permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi".

As such, the Saudi government might have brutally murdered an outspoken journalist, but it is quite unlikely that Washington would really get tough with its steadfast ally and hold Riyadh's feet to the fire over the incident, let alone impose economic sanctions or halting arms sales to the Saudis.

Khashoggi was last seen on October 2 walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary said he was "deeply concerned to hear President Erdogan describe Jamal Khashoggi's murder as pre-meditated".

Saudi Arabia's crown prince denounced the "repulsive" murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and vowed justice will prevail, in his first public comments on the case, without addressing United States accusations of a monumental cover-up.

Faced with mounting global censure, bin Salman appeared relaxed and occasionally joked as he shared the stage with Lebanon's prime minister-designate Saad Hariri and Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad.

This came after Gina Haspel, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, paid a flying visit to Istanbul where she was given access to the findings so far of the Turkish investigation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department would revoke visas for 21 Saudis the USA had identified as being part of the operation at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

While Saudi Arabia has never formally recognized Israel and, accordingly, maintains no official diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, Tel Aviv and Riyadh have been growing closer under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For their part, the Trump administration and the USA defence industry are scrambling to save the few actual deals in a much-touted $110 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia.

In his first public comments on Khashoggi's death three weeks ago inside the Saudis' Istanbul consulate, he told a Riyadh investment conference, "The crime was very painful to all Saudis".

Meanwhile, the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered on Saturday the reorganization of the intelligence authority and sacked senior intelligence as well as other officials over the case. It first denied his death and later said Khashoggi - a U.S. resident and columnist for the Washington Post - died inside the consulate after a fight. Turkish officials have told AP that investigators were looking into the possibility that the journalist's remains may have been hidden at those two locations.

President Donald Trump didn't address the crown prince's speech or the Khashoggi crisis on Wednesday as his administration dealt with the discovery of multiple suspected bombs sent to high-profile Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The Saudi public prosecutor said he was making the latest assessment on the basis of evidence supplied by Turkey, which has been the source of a series of grisly revelations about the government critic's death. On Thursday, Saudi prosecutors said Turkish evidence showed Khashoggi's slaying was premeditated.

For Saudi Arabia's allies, the burning question has been whether they believe that Prince Mohammed, who has painted himself as a reformer, has any culpability in the killing, a possibility raised by several United States lawmakers.

"We will prove to the world that the two governments (Saudi and Turkish) are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail", Prince Mohammed said.

The departure of Khashoggi's son, Salah, comes after Saudi King Salman and the crown prince met him and the slain journalist's brother Sahel at the royal palace in Riyadh on Tuesday.

On Tuesday there were similar conflicting reports over whether Khashoggi's belongings had been found in suitcases in a Saudi diplomatic auto.

Theresa May says Saudi account on Khashoggi lacks credibility