US’ Mattis calls for transparency in Khashoggi killing, top Saudi prosecutor heads to Turkey
- US defence secretary says he met Saudi foreign minister, who agreed investigation needed to be full and complete
- Saudi attorney general to arrive in Turkey for talks with investigators
Mattis said he met Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir during a conference in Bahrain on Saturday and spoke about the killing.
“We discussed it. You know the same thing we talked about, the need for transparency, full and complete investigation,” Mattis told a small group of reporters travelling to Prague with him.
“(There was) full agreement from foreign minister Jubeir, no reservations at all, he said we need to know what happened and it was very collaborative, in agreement.”
US Defence Secretary James Mattis warns of further action over slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Washington Post columnist Khashoggi’s murder has escalated into a crisis for the world’s top oil exporter as Saudi Arabia’s allies have reacted with outrage.
The Saudi attorney general is expected to arrive in Turkey on Sunday to hold talks with investigators looking into the slaying of Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate earlier this month.
Turkey has said Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor, Saud al-Mojeb, is expected to discuss the latest findings of the investigation with Turkish investigators.
There has been no announcement by the Saudis about the visit, which comes just days after CIA director Gina Haspel was in Turkey to review evidence before briefing the US president.
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects detained in the kingdom in connection with the October 2 killing. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister appeared to reject that notion in remarks on Saturday, saying the kingdom would try the perpetrators and bring them to justice after the investigation is completed.
Some of those implicated in the killing are close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose condemnation of the killing has failed to ease suspicions that he was involved.
Khashoggi, a one-time Saudi insider and US resident who lived in self-imposed exile for almost a year before his death, had written critically of the crown prince in columns for The Washington Post.
Under mounting international pressure, the kingdom again changed its narrative about Khashoggi’s killing, acknowledging in recent days that it was “premeditated”, citing information from Turkey as part of a joint investigation. Saudi officials, however, continue to characterise the killing as a rogue operation carried out by agents who exceeded their authority.
Saudi foreign minister al-Jubeir on Saturday said the global outcry and media focus on the killing had become “fairly hysterical”. He urged the public to wait for the results of the investigation before ascribing blame to the kingdom’s top leadership.
Turkey is pressing Saudi Arabia for a full disclosure about the killing. Turkey alleges a 15-member hit squad was sent to Istanbul to kill the journalist.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday his country would reveal more evidence about the killing but was not in any rush to do so, indicating that Turkish authorities will keep methodically increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia.
Additional reporting from Reuters