Under pressure, Saudi admits killing Khashoggi ‘huge and grave mistake’
Riyadh, Oct 22: Saudi Arabia has eventually called the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, a "huge and grave mistake" but aimed to protect its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from the deepening crisis over the issue, saying he was not aware of it, Reuters reported.
Riyadh has come under increasing international pressure, even from its tested ally, the United States, over the disappearance of Khashoggi after he entered the consulate in Istanbul on October 2. It first denied his death but ultimately admitted it.
Admitting the renowned journalist's murder, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on US broadcaster Fox that the operation was a "rogue operation", Reuters said. He said the individuals overdid their responsibilities, taking a dig at the agents who gruesomely killed 60-year-old Khashoggi.
"They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it," Jubeir was quoted as saying.
The US was still not convinced though. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said Riyadh's admission that Khashoggi was killed was a "good first step but not enough". He though said that there was no reason to discuss sanctions against Saudi Arabia, the Reuters report added.
Germany, Great Britain and France have also put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to produce facts on the incident with German Chancellor Angela Merkel even threatening to stop exporting arms to Riyadh.
On Sunday, October 21, the Saudi Press Agency informed that Saudi King Salman and the crown prince had called the deceased journalist's son to express condolences, the Reuters report added.