US President Donald Trump said he has spoken with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who assured him the state had no role in the journalist's disappearance.
“He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!”
Meanwhile, the government of Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to admit they were responsible for the murder.
Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2018
Turkish media has reported Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consultate
The reports say the kingdom’s version of events will maintain Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order the murder or even have any knowledge of it.
Reports in Turkish media have said that Khashoggi was dismembered by a ‘killing squad’ and his body was removed in a car.
The newspaper Khashoggi wrote for, The Washington Post, has reported it has audio and video evidence proving he was tortured and killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi had originally gone to the embassy on 2 October to collect documentation for his upcoming wedding.
The Saudi leadership had previously denied all knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts and insisted he left the Turkish consulate after visiting the building almost two weeks ago. The kingdom is now said to be willing to allow foreign investigators in to determine what happened.
The recent disappearance, and possible murder, of the Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi has prompted a quick reappraisal of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: https://t.co/B91WsDoBxA pic.twitter.com/ibzzh14KYD
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) October 15, 2018
The killing may signal a new era in US-Saudi Arabia relations
Saudi Arabia is a strategically important ally for the US but the apparent grisly slaying of a journalist for political ends highlights ongoing human rights abuses in the kingdom.
Writing in USA Today, Daniel DePetris, a Fellow at Defense Priorities, said the incident “should shock the US out of its tunnel vision and into assessing Saudi Arabia with clear and open eyes”.
“The Saudis may be a partner on select issues, but they most certainly are not true friends,” he wrote.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was another urging a rethink of the alliance.
“The recent disappearance and likely assassination of Jamal Khashoggi only underscores how urgent it has become for the United States to redefine our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” he wrote on Twitter.
A number of media outlets and high-profile business leaders have already withdrawn from an upcoming investment conference in Saudi Arabia due to concerns about Khashoggi’s disappearance.