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UK, France, Germany demand ‘detailed’ Saudi response, ‘credible’ probe on Khashoggi


Britain, France and Germany have called on Saudi Arabia to provide a “detailed” response about the mysterious disappearance of anti-Riyadh journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been murdered at the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

In a statement released Sunday, British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt as well as his French and German counterparts, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas, said they were following the issue with “utmost seriousness.”

“There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and – if relevant – to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account,” the statement read.

“We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response. We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities,” the three diplomats said.

On October 2, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain the necessary paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. That was the last time he was seen in public.

There is widespread speculation – specially among Turkish officials – that Khashoggi has been assassinated by as many as 15 Saudi operatives who followed him into the consulate in an operation directly ordered by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

The journalist’s dismembered body is also reported to have been flown back to Saudi Arabia in two flights.

This is while the Riyadh regime has so far rejected all allegations of directing a hit job on the US-based journalist, who was also a Washington Post contributor.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz said that his country was eager to uncover “the whole truth” and would cooperate with investigations.

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Saudi officials have yet to step up to the job and let Turkish investigators into the consulate.

“We still have not seen cooperation in order to ensure a smooth investigation and bring everything to light. We want to see this,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Saturday.

Rubio pledges strong US action

Meanwhile, US Republican Senator Marco Rubio has joined a bevy of American lawmakers who have called on President Donald Trump to pressure Riyadh over Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“I believe the Trump administration will do something — the President has said that. But if he doesn’t, Congress will,” Rubio told CNN on Sunday.

He said Washington would take “a very strong” response in store for Riyadh if it becomes clear that “the Saudis lured him (Khashoggi) into that consulate, murdered him, cut up his body and disposed of it.”

Trump raised eyebrows this week when he said while his administration would work with Ankara and Riyadh to get to the bottom of the issue, Washington would not go as far as risking tens of billions of dollars in military deals with Saudi Arabia.

“I would not be in favor of stopping a country from spending $110 billion — which is an all-time record — and letting Russia have that money and letting China have that money,” Trump told reporters, referring to an arms deal he signed with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his maiden trip to Saudi Arabia last year.

Faced with backlash, Trump said later on that while he would “punish” Riyadh if it is found guilty but he wouldn’t throw away the arms deals because that would push Riyadh towards Russia and China.

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