US welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Khashoggi investigation as ‘step in the right direction’

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Khashoggi investigation was a step in the right direction. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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US welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Khashoggi investigation as ‘step in the right direction’

  • State department says steps must continue to be taken toward full accountability
  • Arab and Western countries welcomed the steps taken in the investigation

JEDDAH: The United States welcomed the details of Saudi Arabia’s investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as a “good first step” on Thursday.

The comments came as a host of countries responded positively to a briefing from the Kingdom’s public prosecution that said it had identified 21 suspects in the killing of the Saudi journalist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

The prosecution on Thursday called for five people to receive the death penalty as it revealed the details of the investigation so far.

“We regard the announcement that they made as a good first step, it's a step in the right direction,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

“It is an initial investigation finding. It is important that those steps continue to be taken toward full accountability.”

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READ MORE:

Full text: Saudi Arabia public prosecution briefing on the Jamal Khashoggi murder investigation

Saudi Arabia FM: Khashoggi murder investigations will continue until all questions are answered

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor seeks death penalty for 5 Khashoggi suspects

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Both Arab and Western countries welcomed the steps taken by the investigation outlined in the briefing.

The Arab League expressed support for the measures taken by the Kingdom.

“The measures are seen as reflecting the great interest of the Kingdom to reach those responsible for committing the murder and take the firm and decisive action against them,” the League’s  Secretariat General said.

The statement also urged Turkey to reciprocate the Kingdom’s approach by providing the evidence in the case and meet Saudi demands to form a joint mechanism for cooperation on the investigation.

The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said the details of the investigation released on Thursday “confirm the Kingdom’s commitment to completing the necessary procedures in order to continue the investigation away from the politicization sought by some malicious parties.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) praised the statement from the Public Prosecution.

“The Saudi prosecution has clearly answered the outstanding questions, charged the responsible parties, identified the roles of those involved in this crime and announced all that with transparency,” OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen said.

Countries in the region were also quick to back the progress made in the case.

The UAE welcomed the findings and the measures taken to hold accountable those behind the murder.

“The measures taken corroborate the fact that Saudi Arabia will remain a state of values, and justice that respects the principles of law and justice,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.

Egypt also praised Saudi measures and called on countries to avoid politicizing the case.

The progress in the investigation “highlighted the seriousness of the Kingdom and its transparency in clarifying the truth,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

The Jordanian government stressed the importance of the public prosecution's announcement to charge a number of detainees in the case.

"This announcement is an important step towards achieving justice through the investigations' results," Amman said.

Other governments to issue statements welcoming the Kingdom’s steps included Djibouti and Palestine.

Meanwhile, France's foreign ministry said the investigation was a “step in the right direction.”

Russia said that it sees no reason to doubt Saudi Arabia's ability to deal with the Khashoggi case and that it will not accept the politicization of the case. 


King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias performs at the launch of a three-day festival of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday in Ad Diriyah, near Riyadh. (Twitter)
Updated 14 December 2018
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King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

  • Enrique Iglesias took the stage in an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah
  • The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical

RIYADH: Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias launched a three-day festival  of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday with a stunning concert at an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah.

The king of Latin pop took the stage by storm and stole the hearts of thousands in the crowd, whose screams could be heard from a long way away. “I love you Enrique,” a group of girls in the audience shouted.

As he waved his hand back and forth in the air, the crowd started doing the same while jumping up and down. The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical. 

No theatrics were excluded as displays of fireworks and lasers wowed the audience. The singer asked the crowd if they spoke Spanish, and everyone screamed “Yes.”

While stage smoke poured into the arena a female performer sang a duet with Iglesias, who then delighted the crowd with some impromptu salsa dancing in front of the stage.

Fans waved their uplifted phones with their screens and flashes along with the music, while others tried to capture the performance.

“You can run, you can hide but you can’t escape my love,” sang Iglesias while the crowd screamed.

Earlier the R&B singer, songwriter and dancer Jason Derulo persuaded the crowd to put on their dancing shoes with an energetic set.

“Saudi, whassup! This is a dream come true for me! Since we are in Saudi Arabia I want to do things a little different,” he told the audience. He said his mother taught him to never visit empty handed, so his gift to Saudi Arabia was the debut performance of a new song.

Thursday’s entertainment will be followed on Friday by shows from Arab music star Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas. The climax of the festival comes on Saturday with the Saudia Ad Diriyah Formula E Grand Prix motor race, followed by headline performances by OneRepublic and the megastar DJ/producer David Guetta.