Germany presses for European Union unity on Saudi Arabia arms exports

Saul Bowman
October 24, 2018

The Kingdom admitted last week that Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's policies, was killed in the Istanbul consulate, saying his death was the result of a "fistfight".

Saudi's official news agency said both King Salman and Prince Mohammed had phoned Khashoggi's son Salah to express their condolences. The crisis has shaken Western confidence in the world's top oil exporter and its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Turkish police are searching an abandoned diplomatic vehicle belonging to the Saudi Arabia consulate that was found on Monday in a parking lot in Istanbul in efforts to make clear about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, local media reported.

After weeks of denying involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, Saudi Arabia has given a shifting narrative of what happened to the journalist.

They said in a statement that nothing can justify the killing.

Senior German politicians have also urged Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser over the weekend to pull out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia later this week.

"The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority", he said.

Details of an ongoing investigation by the Turkish government, which have been leaked to the media, suggest that Khashoggi had been tortured and assassinated by a Saudi hit squad inside the consulate, according to Reuters.


The Turkish officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin on Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the arms freeze and said she will continue working with global allies to coordinate their response to Khashoggi's murder inside a Saudi consulate.

The officials say Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump agreed during their call late on Sunday that the journalist's case "should be brought to light in all aspects".

He said: "They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it".

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. "This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had", Jubeir told US broadcaster Fox. Some Turkish employees reportedly said they were instructed not to go to work around the time that Khashoggi disappeared.

Madani, 57, is of similar height, age and build as Khashoggi, and was likely used as a decoy, Turkish officials told CNN.

The son of King Salman has developed close ties with the Trump White House, and especially with Kushner, since becoming crown prince a year ago, pressing economic, social and religious reforms in the ultraconservative oil superpower.

She also questioned why they felt a need to defend MBS, saying, "What's so important about this prince?"

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