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Saudi FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Turkey Has Not Handed Us Evidence in Khashoggi Case

Saudi FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Turkey Has Not Handed Us Evidence in Khashoggi Case

Tuesday, 20 November, 2018 - 07:45
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. (Reuters)
Riyadh – Nasser al-Haqbani
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir stressed that Turkish authorities confirmed to Riyadh that its statements over the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi were not directed at Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that some statements made from Ankara are “creating a rift in our ties.”

Moreover, he called on Turkey to provide evidence it possesses related to the Khashoggi case. The evidence should be sent to the Saudi General Prosecution to allow it to uncover all the facts.

He offered his condolences to Khashoggi’s relatives, stressing that Saudi diplomacy stands on firm ground and it will weather challenges no matter how great they are.

On the media campaign targeting the Kingdom in wake of the murder, Jubeir said that Riyadh had directed the General Prosecution to investigate the case and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The suspects have been referred to the judiciary, he added.

“The Kingdom has taken all sufficient measures to achieve justice,” declared the minister.

“The motives behind the media campaigns and politicization of the case have become obvious,” he added. “The Kingdom has long been victim to unjust media campaigns aimed at undermining its role and standing.”

Asked about the United States’ sanctioning of a number of figures related to the case, Jubeir told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Our ties with the US are strategic and we are bound by important joint interests that are vital to the security and stability of the region and world.”

“The Kingdom is keen on preserving this strategic relationship and historic partnership that has extended for over seven decades,” he remarked.

“We also appreciate the American administration’s interest and hail the stances of friendly nations from around the world in the Khashoggi case,” he continued.

The sanctions, he clarified, did not target the Saudi government or its economy, but only individuals.

On Turkish calls for an international investigation, Jubeir said: “We completely reject all attempts to politicize the case. Those seeking justice must go ahead and present what evidence they have to the Saudi judiciary.”

Asked if he believes that Ankara was seeking to politicize the case, he replied: “Saudi Arabia and Turkey are important countries in the Muslim world and they are bound by historic ties. Unfortunately, statements issued by some Turkish individuals do not serve this purpose.”

“Such remarks create a rift between us and Ankara. We do not want that because it will distance us from important issues, such as Islamic unity,” he went on to say. “Any politicization does not serve Saudi-Turkish ties.”

On Turkish hints that Crown Prince Mohammed had ordered Khashoggi’s murder, Jubeir said: “We had inquired about this and we were informed that he was not the target.”

“Our priority is to gather enough evidence and information to ensure the success of the investigations and steer them clear of media speculation,” he remarked.

At this, he declared: “The Saudi leadership, represented by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed are a red line and we will stand against attempts to undermine or harm them.”

On CIA claims that the Crown Prince had ordered Khashoggi’s murder, Jubeir said: “We read the media reports. They are leaks that are not based on damning evidence.

“At any rate, we in the Kingdom know that such claims are completely baseless,” he added.

On international reactions to the Saudi General Prosecution’s release of its findings on Thursday, he said: “The Kingdom is not investigating the case for the sake of the general public. We are investigating it because it is linked to the murder of a Saudi citizen.”

Asked about why the Saudi account of the murder kept on changing, he said: “The team that committed the crime presented a misleading and false testimony.”

The initial Saudi statements on the case were based on these false claims. The truth eventually began to unravel, he added.

On whether the Khashoggi case will have negative repercussions on Saudi arms deals, the minister replied: “The Kingdom is committed to defending its territory, borders and people against any regional threats.”

“We prefer to be armed by our allies, but Saudi Arabia’s commitment to defend its land and people obligates it to obtain the weapons its needs from any source,” he stated.

Commenting on whether the case will affect Saudi ties with its global partners, Jubeir said: “These relations are strategic and important in confronting common challenges. The Kingdom’s partners appreciate its role and standing.”

“The Kingdom was the first side to take measures against suspects in the Khashoggi case and other countries soon followed. They took measures in a manner that does affect our joint political and economic interests,” he added.

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