US President on Wednesday said Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could have been involved in the operation that led to Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. Soon, Saudi Crown Prince Salman broke his silence on the killing, calling it a “heinous” crime and vowing to bring the perpetrators to justice, according to sources.
“Well, the prince is running things over there (Riyadh) more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him,” Trump told to Wall Street Journal.
In his toughest comment yet amid a global outcry over the journalist’s death, Trump said he wanted to believe the prince when he said that lower level officials were to blame for the killing at the Saudi mission.
“It is a heinous crime that cannot be justified” Prince Salman said while addressing an international audience at the country’s Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh on Wednesday.
“Saudi Arabia will go and implement all necessary rules and investigate deeply in order to achieve results. And to bring to justice those who were responsible for this heinous crime and they will be put before the courts. There’s no doubt,” the prince said.
According to reports, the Wall Street Journal published Trump’s statement just hours before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman addressed at a business conference for the first time since Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate on October 2.
An adviser to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said Prince Mohammed had “blood on his hands” over Khashoggi, it said.
On October 21, Riyadh called the killing a “huge and grave mistake”, but sought to shield the Crown Prince from the widening crisis, saying he had not been aware, said the sources.
The death of Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist, has sparked global outrage and threatened relations between Riyadh and Washington as well as other Western nations.
Turkish security sources say that when Khashoggi entered the consulate, he was seized by 15 Saudi intelligence operatives who had flown in on two jets just hours before, it said.