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With Biden at the helm, "Khashoggi" hits headlines again; Saudi Arabia unmoved

A quick glance at the report shared with the press also proved Saudi Arabia's version is not without basis

Saturday February 27, 2021 11:24 PM, ummid.com with inputs from Agencies

Jamal Khashoggi

Washington/Riyadh: With Joe Biden at the helm of the affairs in the United States, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi hit the headlines once again. This time following the release of a report by US intelligence that was under the carpet during Donald Trump era.

However, Saudi Arabia is unmoved by the latest development, calling the disclosure "speculative" and lacking in evidence.

Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince and the Kingdom's de facto ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wrote for The Washington Post and was a US resident, was allegedly lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, then killed and cut into pieces.

A quick glance at the report shared with the press also proved Saudi Arabia's version is not without basis. Read this:

"We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," read the report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

The part of the report that makes it "speculative" and lacking in evidence, says:

"Given Prince Mohammed's influence, it was "highly unlikely" that the 2018 murder could have taken place without his green light. The killing also fit a pattern of "the crown prince's support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia rejected the claim and said it has been following the report submitted to the US Congress “regarding the heinous murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi” and “notes that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions.”

The ministry said:

“The ministry reiterates what was previously announced by the relevant authorities in the Kingdom, that this was an abhorrent crime and a flagrant violation of the Kingdom’s laws and values. This crime was committed by a group of individuals that have transgressed all pertinent regulations and authorities of the agencies where they were employed.”

The ministry said that authorities in the Kingdom “took all possible measures within our legal system to ensure that these individuals were properly investigated, and to ensure that justice was served.”

Also Read | Saudis say Jamal Khashoggi died in a fistfight, arrest 18

"It was also pointed out that they were convicted and sentenced in Saudi courts and that “these sentences were welcomed by the family of Jamal Khashoggi", the ministry said.

The statement continues:

“It is truly unfortunate that this report, with its unjustified and inaccurate conclusions, is issued while the Kingdom had clearly denounced this heinous crime, and the Kingdom’s leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy never takes place again.

“The Kingdom rejects any measure that infringes upon its leadership, sovereignty, and the independence of its judicial system", Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.

Supports pour in for Saudi Arabia

Meanwhile, Arab countries and organizations expressed their support on Saturday for the statement released by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry. In a statement, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry rejected anything that affects the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain’s Shoura Council affirmed “the prominent and pivotal role played by Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to lay down the foundations of regional and global security and peace", Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

Also Read | Saudi Arabia: Any action against Kingdom will be met with bigger reaction

The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed its confidence and support for the Saudi judiciary, as well as the Kingdom’s commitment to enforcing the law with transparency and integrity and to holding those responsible for the murder to account.

"The UAE rejects any attempts to exploit the Jamal Khashoggi case or interfere in Saudi internal affairs", the ministry said.

Kuwait’s foreign ministry also expressed its support for Saudi Arabia and stressed the important role played by the Kingdom in supporting moderation regionally and internationally and in denouncing extremism. The ministry said that it categorically rejects any attempts to affect the Kingdom’s sovereignty.

Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed the Sultanate's solidarity with the Kingdom, saying it appreciated the efforts and actions of the competent judicial authorities in the Kingdom regarding the case and its outcome.

Also Read | France accuses Erdogan of playing political game over Khashoggi killing, Turkey fumes

Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said it categorically rejects “the incorrect conclusions contained” in the US report which is “devoid of any conclusive evidence.”

The OIC also said it rejected attempts to infringe the Kingdom’s sovereignty, insult its leadership and compromise the independence of its judiciary.

"An opinion devoid of any conclusive evidence"

The Arab Parliament affirmed its support for Saudi Arabia and expressed its categorical rejection of any infringement of the sovereignty of the Kingdom and the independence of its judiciary.

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajjraf, affirmed his appreciation for the pivotal role the Kingdom plays in enhancing regional and international security and peace, and its great role in combating terrorism and supporting the efforts of the international community in this regard.

Al-Hajjraf said the report is nothing more than an opinion that is devoid of any conclusive evidence. He expressed his support for any measures that the Kingdom takes in order to preserve its rights and support its role in promoting a culture of moderation.

Yemen also rejected everything that might affect the sovereignty of the Kingdom and the independence of its judiciary.


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