Prime Minister Theresa May has used a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to emphasise the importance of a “full, credible and transparent” investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Washington Post columnist Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.
Private Whatsapp messages between Khashoggi and activist Omar Abdulaziz, obtained by CNN and published today, show the journalist’s criticism of bin Salman, calling him a “beast” and a “pac man” who “loves force, oppression”.
The CIA has concluded that Bin Salman “probably ordered” Khashoggi’s killing, according to the Wall Street Journal, after he sent 11 messages to a close adviser who oversaw the hit squad around the time of his death.
On Friday, May shook hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires before delivering what she described as a “robust” message on the importance of a “credible and transparent” investigation into Khashoggi‘s death.
At a press conference held the next day, May declined to say whether she had directly confronted Mohammed over whether he was personally involved in planning or ordering the journalist’s murder.
But she said: “It is absolutely the case that the relationship we have with Saudi Arabia means we are able to raise issues that are difficult, to be clear with them on our views on things and our concerns about things.
“What I said to the Crown Prince yesterday was the importance of a full, credible and transparent investigation that identifies those who were involved and the importance of ensuring that those who were involved are held to account.
“That is the message we have consistently given since the terrible murder of Jamal Khashoggi and it is a message we will continue to give.”
On Saturday, May used a meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss Ankara’s investigation into Khashoggi’s death.
In a statement last month announcing his intention to continue arms trading with Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump said “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” in relation to whether bin Salman ordered the killing.
“That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”
Picture: Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via Reuters