SUNDAY,MARCH 24, 2019

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Adel Al-Jubeir: Khashoggi’s murder was “not an authorised operation”

Saudi Arabian Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir told US media on Friday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He said, “We know that this was not an authorized operation. There was no order given to conduct this operation.” Defending Saudi leadership, he told reporters, “It’s not about reject or not reject. We know that the crown prince did not order this. We know that this was a rogue operation.”   His statement came in response to the New York Times story which came out on Thursday. The story reported the Kingdom’s crown prince told an aide that he would use “a bullet” on the journalist if he did not return home and stop criticising Saudi Arabia. It was said that the comment was made in 2017 a year before he journalist was killed inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.   Al-Jubeir, declined to comment on the New York Times Story, saying that it was based on anonymous sources and the intelligence report is not out. He also said that 11 people have been indicted with regard to the Khashoggi murder mystery and investigations are ongoing.   He added, hinting at pressure from US media and Congress, that it is “preposterous” for other countries to think they can dictate Saudi leadership.   Besides New York Times, United Nations also released the report of its separate inquiry into Khashoggi’s murder on Thursday which said that evidence indicated that the crime was “planned and perpetrated” by Saudi officials.   On Saturday, the Kingdom put up a sterner front against the international pressure as its Foreign Ministry issued a warning tweet saying, ‘Our leadership is a red line. We will not accept any state to dictate to us what to do. We warn against any attempt to link Khashoggi’s crime to our leadership.”   The Trump administration, knowing the strategic importance of its relations with Riyadh, issued a statement stating that there is no direct evidence of the crown prince’s involvement in the Khashoggi’s killing.   On Thursday, Al-Jubeir met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington to discuss the Kingdom’s partnership with to compact terrorism and work on other regional developments.   Stating the Kingdom’s commitment to bring peace and development to the region, Al-Jubeir told reports, “My country’s government will continue its fight against terrorism and its sponsoring countries, and pledges to support all international and regional efforts to eliminate terrorist organizations and the activities of destabilizing states in the region.”   The minister added: “We believe that our war against terrorism must include combating its funding and rhetoric that justifies violence and terrorism.”