Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged that the killers of journalist Jamal Khashoggi will face justice for their ‘heinous crime’.
Speaking at an international investment conference in the capital Riyadh, he promised justice would prevail and that the murder had no justification.
The crown prince also told the audience that Saudi Arabia and Turkey would work together to ‘reach results.
“The incident that happened,” he said, “is very painful for all Saudis. The incident is not justifiable.”
The killing has left Saudi Arabia’s international reputation in tatters.
Khashoggi was brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.
The Saudis denied he was dead and claimed he had left the consulate in good health.
However, mounting international pressure led to a confession that he had died in the consulate and the perpetrators had dressed a lookalike in his clothes to dupe CCTV outside the building into believing he was still alive.
US President Donald Trump announced that he held the crown prince responsible for the death.
Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May have both stated that any Saudis suspected of involvement in the murder will be barred from entering the US and UK. The Czech Republic is also withdrawing a diplomat from the nation’s Saudi embassy.
Turkey alleges 15 Saudi government officials arrived in Istanbul shortly before Khasshogi’s death. His body has yet to be found.
Turkey claims this was a hit squad that included a close member of the crown prince’s household.
The Saudis first denied the death, but then changed the narrative claiming Khashoggi died after a fight in the consulate – although this does not explain why a body double paraded in Istanbul wearing the dead man’s clothes.
The treatment of an alleged state-sponsored killing by the Saudis has also provoked a different response from the West than Russia’s attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
The incident triggered widespread international condemnation against Russian president Vladimir Putin that resulted in diplomatic expulsions and economic sanctions.
As an ally of the West and a large buyer of weapons, the Saudis have yet to see any similar sanctions imposed.