Saudi officials indicated Saturday that they wanted to put the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi behind them, a day after US President Joe Biden brought it up in talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Biden administration last year released an intelligence assessment that Prince Mohammed “approved” the operation that led to Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Speaking late Friday, Biden called Khashoggi’s death “outrageous” and said he had warned Prince Mohamed against further attacks on dissidents, without specifying what action he might take.
The Al Arabiya channel quoted a Saudi official as saying that the two leaders “addressed the issue of Jamal Khashoggi quickly” and that Prince Mohamed “confirmed that what happened is unfortunate and that we have taken all legal measures to avoid” a repetition of something. Similary.
Prince Mohammed also noted that “an incident like this happens anywhere in the world,” highlighting “a number of mistakes” made by Washington, such as the torture of detainees in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, Al Arabiya reported.
In an interview with CNN, Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, said the kingdom believed the Khashoggi issue had been sufficiently addressed, even though Khashoggi’s remains have never been found.
A Saudi court in 2020 sentenced eight people to between 7 and 20 years in prison for the murder. Their names were never made public, with Khashoggi’s fiancée calling the sentence a “farce”.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia investigated this crime. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia held those responsible to account and they are paying the price for the crime they committed as we speak,” Jubeir said.
“We have investigated, we have punished and we have put procedures in place to ensure that this does not happen again. This is what countries do in situations like this,” he added.