'Justice will prevail' in Khashoggi case, says Saudi crown prince

Riyadh has blamed the prominent journalist's death on a “rogue operation," and said the crown prince had no knowledge of his killing.
Wednesday 24/10/2018
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) arrives with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to attend the Future Investment Initiative FII conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 24, 2018. (AP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz (L) arrives with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to attend the Future Investment Initiative FII conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 24, 2018. (AP)

LONDON - In his first public comments since Saudi Arabia confirmed the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz described the government critic's death as a “heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

“We are cooperating with the Turkish government and officials to ascertain the truth in Mr. Khashoggi’s case," the crown prince told attendees at the second annual Future Investment Initiative summit, also known as “Davos in the Desert.” "We are certain justice will prevail.” 

"Many are trying to exploit the Khashoggi affair to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey...But they will not succeed as long as there is a king named Salman and a crown prince named Mohammed bin Salman," he said. 

Crown Prince Mohammed, who received a standing ovation, delivered the remarks during a panel discussion at the event that included Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Regarding press reports that Hariri had been detained in Riyadh by Saudi authorities last year, the crown prince joked: “Prime Minister Saad is staying in the kingdom for two days so I hope you don’t spread rumours that he was kidnapped.”

Hariri threw his support behind Saudi Arabia a day earlier.

“The measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi... come within the framework that serves the path of justice and the disclosure of the whole truth,” a statement from Hariri's office quoted him as saying.

Hariri said that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had taken measures aimed at "refuting propaganda campaigns that the kingdom is going through."

He also noted that all Arab countries agreed that the "safety and stability of Saudi Arabia should not be a matter of hesitation under any circumstances."

Before Crown Prince Mohammed delivered his remarks, he spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on “the need for joint efforts to shed light on all aspects of on (Khashoggi's) killing," Turkish officials said. 

The two leaders discussed steps needed to proceed with the investigation, said the officials, who added that Crown Prince Mohammed had requested the conversation.

This year’s Future Investment Initiative summit has been overshadowed by the case of Khashoggi, who Turkish officials say was killed by a 15-man Saudi team at the country's consulate in Istanbul.

Riyadh has blamed the prominent journalist's death on a “rogue operation," and said the crown prince had no knowledge of his killing

Khashoggi's killing has sparked global outrage and threatened relations between Riyadh and Washington as well as other Western nations.

Despite the controversy, the first day of the summit saw deals signed totalling almost $50 billion.