Reports indicating US made final conclusions in case ‘inaccurate’, State Department says
By AFP – Nov 18,2018 – JORDAN TIMES
People holding photo of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi attend a symbolic funeral prayer for Khashoggi at the courtyard of Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, on Friday (Reuters photo)
WASHINGTON — The United States will make final conclusions by early next week over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump said on Saturday, following reports that the CIA had held Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman responsible.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly changed its official narrative of the October 2 murder, first denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts and later saying he was killed when an argument escalated into a fistfight.
Earlier this week, a Saudi prosecutor exonerated the crown prince of involvement in the brutal murder.
Speaking to reporters in Malibu, California after surveying damage from wildfires, Trump said “we’ll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert earlier said reports indicating the United States had already made final conclusions in the case were “inaccurate”.
“There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr Khashoggi,” she added.
The State Department will continue to seek facts and work with other countries to hold those involved in the killing accountable, Nauert said, “while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia”.
“In the meantime, we will continue to consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”
The remarks appeared to contradict reports that the Central Intelligence Agency had determined Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi, a vocal critic.
‘Truly spectacular ally’
The killing and the international uproar it triggered has frayed ties between Washington and longtime ally Riyadh, which has sought to end discussion of the murder and rejected calls for an international investigation.
But ahead of a briefing by his secretary of state and CIA director, Trump demured when asked about possible retaliation against Riyadh.
“They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development,” Trump told reporters.
“And I also take that — you know, I’m president — I have to take a lot of things into consideration.”
The Washington Post, which broke the story, said the CIA found that 15 Saudi agents flew on government aircraft to Istanbul and assassinated Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate.
Khashoggi, a Post columnist, had gone to the consulate to obtain documents necessary to marry his Turkish fiancee.
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