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Saudi says 'completely rejects' US assessment on Khashoggi murder

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia   /   Sat, February 27, 2021   /   10:56 am
Saudi says 'completely rejects' US assessment on Khashoggi murder In this file photo taken on December 15, 2014 , Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi attends a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama. (AFP/Mohammed Al-Shaikh )

Saudi Arabia on Friday said it "completely rejects" a declassified US report that found that de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved journalist Jamal Khashoggi's 2018 murder.

"The government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the kingdom's leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions," the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

In the partially redacted report released Friday by President Joe Biden's administration, US intelligence concluded that the prince "approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill" Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia has previously described the murder as a rogue operation and has vehemently denied the crown prince was involved.

"It is truly unfortunate that this report, with its unjustified and inaccurate conclusions, is issued while the kingdom had clearly denounced this heinous crime, and the kingdom's leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy never takes place again," the foreign ministry said.

"The kingdom rejects any measure that infringes upon its leadership, sovereignty, and the independence of its judicial system," the ministry added.

Khashoggi, a staunch critic of Prince Mohammed, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 and murdered by a Saudi squad.

The US report said that given Prince Mohammed's influence, it was "highly unlikely" that the murder could have taken place without his green light.

Following the release of the report, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington wants to "recalibrate" but not "rupture" its relations with Riyadh, a longstanding security partner in the Middle East.

Despite its anger over the report, Saudi Arabia also stressed that it was keen to maintain the relationship.

"The partnership between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America is a robust and enduring partnership," the foreign ministry said.

"We look forward to maintaining the enduring foundations that have shaped the framework of the resilient strategic partnership between the kingdom and the United States."