An adviser to Turkey’s president on Monday rejected Riyadh’s assertion that Jamal Khashoggi died in a fight, suggesting it “mocked” world opinion, as Western incredulity deepened over varying Saudi accounts of the journalist’s killing.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of Saudi’s powerful crown prince, disappeared three weeks ago after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for an upcoming marriage.
Riyadh’s reaction since – it initially denied knowledge of his fate before saying he was killed in a fight in the consulate – has left several Western governments incredulous and strained ties with the world’s largest oil exporter.
On Sunday Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said that Khashoggi had died in a “rogue operation”. But some of his comments appeared to contradict previous statements from Riyadh, marking yet another shift in the official story.
A clutch of countries, including Germany, Britain, France and Turkey, have pressed Riyadh to provide all the facts, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said Berlin would not export arms to Saudi Arabia while uncertainty over Khashoggi’s fate persisted.
“One cannot help but wonder how there could have been a ‘fistfight’ between 15 young expert fighters … and a 60-year-old Khashoggi, alone and defenseless,” Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and a friend of Khashoggi’s, wrote in the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper.
“The ‘fistfight’ argument regarding Khashoggi’s death is a scenario which was hastily made up, as it became clear that all the details of the incident will soon come out,” Aktay wrote.
“The more one thinks about it, the more it feels like our intelligence is being mocked,” he wrote.
Erdogan has said he will release information about Turkey’s investigation in a speech on Tuesday.
Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate by Saudi agents and his body cut up. Turkish sources say authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the murder of the 59-year-old.
For Saudi Arabia’s allies, the question will be whether they believe that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has painted himself as a reformer, has any culpability. King Salman, 82, has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to him.
“This was an operation that was a rogue operation. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had,” Jubeir told U.S. broadcaster Fox.
“They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it,” he said.
Jubeir extended condolences to Khashoggi’s family. “Unfortunately, a huge and grave mistake was made and I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable for this.”
But, in some critical areas, his explanation appeared to depart from previous official statements.
He said the Saudis did not know how Khashoggi had been killed. That contradicted the public prosecutor’s statement a day earlier that Khashoggi died after a “fistfight” with people who met him inside the consulate. It also contradicted two Saudi officials’ comments to Reuters that it was a chokehold that killed him.
Jubeir also said the Saudis did not know where Khashoggi’s body was, though one of the Saudi officials had told Reuters it was wrapped up in a rug, taken out of the consulate in a vehicle and handed over to a “local cooperator” for disposal.
Prior to Jubeir’s interview, a senior Saudi official laid out a version that itself contradicted earlier explanations. That account includes details on how 15 Saudis sent to confront Khashoggi had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and killed him in a chokehold when he resisted.
A member of the team dressed in Khashoggi’s clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate. Support for that strand of the account appeared to come from footage aired by CNN showing a man dressed as Khashoggi walking around Istanbul. CNN described the images as law enforcement surveillance footage.
Some top U.S. lawmakers turned their ire on the crown prince and said they believed he ordered the killing. “Do I think he did it? Yes, I think he did it,” Republican Senator Bob Corker, the influential chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview with CNN.
Both Republicans and Democrats have turned their attention to the role of the prince, with whom President Donald Trump and his son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner have cultivated a close relationship.
Over the course of the crisis, Trump’s comments have varied from appearing to downplay Riyadh’s role in the incident, to warning of potential economic sanctions. He has repeatedly highlighted the kingdom’s importance as an ally.
In an interview with the Washington Post, he said “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies.”
Saudi Arabia has no intention of unleashing a 1973-style oil embargo on Western consumers and will isolate oil from politics, energy minister Khalid al-Falih told Russia’s TASS news agency.
Authorities were taking statements from five Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate on Monday, NTV said. Twenty consulate workers, including the consul’s driver, gave statements to prosecutors in relation to the incident last week, NTV has reported previously.
In all, prosecutors are seeking statements from a total of 45 employees, CNN Turk said.
Theresa May Survives Confidence Vote
British Prime Minister Theresa May can rest easy after winning a vote of confidence on Wednesday night in the conservative party by 200 to 117.
After alighting from the vote last night unscathed, she is now immune from a leadership challenge for a year.
But rocky road still lies ahead as she tries to push through a vote in parliament to adopt her Brexit deal with the EU.
After the all important confidence vote on wednesday night, May was in Brussels again thursday morning to finetune the divorce deal she had struck for Britain.
May vowed, after vote results were announced on Wednesday night, that she will deliver the brexit “people voted for.”
She acknowledged the rather high number of her MPs who had voted against her. She promised to listen to, and address, their concerns.
The vote was triggered by 48 of her MPs who are angry at her Brexit policy. They say the deal betrays the demands of the 2016 referendum result.
IATA Forecasts Airlines Will Generate $3b More In 2019
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents most global carriers, has forecast airlines will generate $3 billion more in total profits in 2019. The industry realized $32 billion this year. IATA says although airlines face increased taxes, they will carry more passengers next year that would boost industry profits.
Iata says airlines in North America are performing the best, but Africa remains the weakest region for aviation.
Net profits for airlines across Africa are expected to fall, for the fourth consecutive year next year by three-tenths of a percent.
Losses for carriers across Africa have widened as fuel costs have increased.
UN Urges Immediate Action On Climate Change
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday at the ongoing 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) in Poland that it will “not only be immoral, but suicidal”, should the world body fail to agree on climate change action.
He challenged the more than 100 government leaders gathered in Katowice to find consensus and “finish the job”, noting the roadblocks continuing at the (COP24) climate change conference over how to implement the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.
Since Dec. 2, the conference has brought together thousands of climate action decision-makers, advocates and activists, with one key objective – to adopt global guidelines for the 197 parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The 197 parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement committed to limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Centigrade – and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Centigrade – above pre-industrial levels.
As the conference nears its end, the UN chief acknowledged progress in the negotiations but said a lot still remains to be done.
- Theresa May Survives Confidence Vote December 13, 2018
- EU Rejects Bid To Unfreeze Mubarak’s Assets December 13, 2018
- IATA Forecasts Airlines Will Generate $3b More In 2019 December 13, 2018
- Thousands Of Voting Machines And Ballot Boxes Destroyed In DRC Electoral Commission Fire December 13, 2018
- IATA Inaugurates Turbulence Aware Data Resource To Forecast Turbulence December 13, 2018
African News2 days ago
Gabon Workers Go On Nationwide Strike, Call For Reversal Of Recent Constitutional Changes
African News2 days ago
China Encourages Ethiopia To Develop Coffee Industry
World News2 days ago
150 Nations Sign International Agreement On Migration
African News6 days ago
12 Health Workers In DR Congo Die Of Ebola
African News3 days ago
2 Persons Killed In Clash Between Security Forces And Protesters In Togo
African News1 day ago
Mauritius Doctors Recommend Physical Activity To Tackle Non-communicable Diseases In The Country
African News2 days ago
W.H.O. To Give Ebola Vaccines To South Sudan Health Workers
African News3 days ago
South Africa Suspends Diplomatic Ties With Rwanda