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Khashoggi murder: Crown prince vows to punish ‘culprits’

The Saudi crown prince made his first international speech since the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudi crown prince has vowed to punish all the “culprits” responsible for the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

Speaking at a business forum in Riyadh, Mohammed bin Salman said “the crime was painful to all Saudis” but he would never allow any rift with Turkey.

The Saudis have previously denied accusations that the prince, the de facto ruler, had a role in the killing.

Khashoggi died during a 2 October visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudi government has blamed the murder on “rogue agents”.

He said the killing was “a heinous crime that cannot be justified” and vowed that “those behind this crime will be held accountable… in the end justice will prevail”.

He said there had been good co-operation with Turkey, adding: “A lot of people are trying to seize this painful situation to create a rift between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And I want to send them a message: you will never be able to do that.

“The rift will never be there.”

The prince declared his own and his country’s revulsion at what happened. He then said that many people were trying to exploit the affair to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

At the end, a now relaxed and laughing Mohammed bin Salman even made a joke about the man sitting beside him – Lebanese PM Saad Hariri, who a year ago announced his resignation during a visit to Riyadh, reportedly after facing huge pressure from the prince.

The prince quipped that Mr Hariri planned to stay a couple more days in Saudi Arabia, but that he wasn’t being kidnapped. If the reaction of the audience was anything to go by, the crown prince scored a PR triumph reported a BBC report.

The summit is the prince’s brainchild, an effort to draw much-needed foreign direct investment into the kingdom to create jobs for its young population.

However, this year’s summit has been overshadowed by the Oct. 2 killing of Khashoggi. Turkish officials say the writer was killed by a 15-man Saudi hit squad that included a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on overseas trips.

Saudi Arabia has suggested, without offering evidence, that the team went rogue.

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