Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt today met King Salman of Saudi Arabia as he called for more cooperation from the kingdom with the Turkish investigation into journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death last month.
Hunt’s visit to Saudi Arabia today was the first by a UK minister since Khashoggi’s disappearance on 2 October.
The Foreign Office said Hunt planned to use his meeting with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and other Middle East dignitaries to “make clear the importance of Saudi Arabia cooperating with Turkey to conduct a full and credible investigation into Mr Khashoggi’s death”.
In a statement ahead of today’s meeting, Hunt said: “The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago.
“It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear.
“We encourage the Saudi authorities to co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation into his death, so that we deliver justice for his family and the watching world.”
Hunt’s meeting built on talks this weekend between Simon McDonald, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Salman and Al-Jubeir.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and outspoken critic of the Saudi government, had entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage while his fiancée waited outside, but never left the building alive.
In the first public confirmation that Khashoggi was murdered, chief Istanbul prosecutor Irfan Firdan said on 31 October that he had been strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate, with his body then allegedly dismembered and disposed of.
The Saudi regime first claimed he had left the consulate alive, with surveillance footage showing another man appearing to wear his clothes. It was later claimed Khashoggi had died in a fistfight.
Saudi’s top prosecutor has since said he was killed by agents in a “rogue operation” not sanctioned by the kingdom. It has arrested 18 men in connection with his death.
Picture: Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via Reuters