Britain asks Saudis to explain what happened to missing journalist

11 Octubre, 2018, 14:41 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Saudi writer 'murdered' in consulate

A pro-government Turkish newspaper has published the names and photographs of 15 Saudi nationals who allegedly arrived in Istanbul on board two private jets the day journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing.

Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist, vanished October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Mr Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

He also questioned assertions by Saudi authorities that the consulate does not have footage of Khashoggi leaving the building as the mission's security cameras only provide live footage and do not record images.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Saudi consulate "must and will" prove where Mr Khashoggi is, saying the Saudis "cannot save themselves" by claiming the outspoken journalist left the building.

Erdogan told reporters on a flight back from Hungary that Turkey is anxious about the Khashoggi's disappearance.

Khashoggi, 59, went missing last week after visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkish capital Istanbul to collect paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Hatice Cengiz told the Washington Post that she left him at the entrance around 1 p.m. that day and hasn't seen him since.

The Saudi consulate is located on Turkish territory, but under global law, a consulate is "absolutely inviolable" by another country.

The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has warned Saudi Arabia that its friendship with the United Kingdom depends on shared values, after he demanded answers over claims that a Saudi hit squad may have played a role in the disappearance and possible killing of Jamal Khashoggi. "And hopefully, that will sort itself out", Trump said.

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Khashoggi, who had been critical of the Salman government, has been living for a year in self-imposed exile in the United States after a Riyadh crackdown on dissent in the kingdom.

According to diplomatic sources, a diplomatic note was sent to the Turkish Foreign Ministry inviting Turkish officials to visit the consulate. He served as an adviser to senior Saudi officials.

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.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to reporters about the subject.

Karen Elliott House, a veteran writer on Saudi affairs and chairwoman of the board of trustees at RAND Corp., said US support for the Yemen war is likely to be the focus of congressional criticism but won't endanger a relationship that has endured for decades, underpinned by shared strategic interests.

In March, the State Department approved a $670 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia, part of a promised $110 billion in deals touted by Trump after his first presidential trip to the Saudi capital past year.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia faced increased scrutiny over Khashoggi's disappearance from officials in America, the kingdom's longtime ally.

Turkish authorities repeatedly said that Khashoggi never left the consulate premises.

The Saudi consulate in Istanbul issued a statement Sunday, saying reports that Kashoggi was murdered inside the building were "baseless allegations". Right now, nobody knows anything about it, but there are some pretty bad stories going around.

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

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