‘People acting beyond their authority’ responsible for Khashoggi’s death, says Saudi FM

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told FOX News on Sunday that the individuals responsible in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi were 'out of the scope of their authority.' (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 31 October 2018

‘People acting beyond their authority’ responsible for Khashoggi’s death, says Saudi FM

  • Senior Saudi official reveals new details of operation that led to journalist’s death in Istanbul
  • The Kingdom was working on finding out location of the body and determining full details

JEDDAH: The death of Saudi  journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the result of a “rogue operation” by people acting beyond the scope of their authority, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.

“This is a terrible mistake. This is a terrible tragedy,” he said, offering sympathy to the Khashoggi family. “Our condolences go out to them. We feel their pain. I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable.

“The individuals did this out of the scope of their authority,” Al-Jubeir told Fox News in the US, and none of those involved had close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “There were not people closely tied to him. This was an operation that was a rogue operation.”

Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 6 when he visited to complete some paperwork related to his divorce. Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that 18 Saudis had been arrested in connection with his death.

Conflicting reports about whether Khashoggi had left the consulate prompted the investigation, and Saudi Arabia would continue to provide information on the case “as it becomes available,” Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.

Separately, an unindentified Saudi official told the Reuters news agency that the initial account of Khashoggi’s disappearance had been based on “false information reported internally at the time.”

“Once it became clear these initial mission reports were false, the government launched an internal investigation and refrained from further public comment,” the official said.

He said the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed Al-Asiri, had assembled a 15-member team to meet Khashoggi at the consulate and try to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia.

Things went wrong from the start, the official said. When Khashoggi raised his voice, the team panicked. They placed him in a chokehold and covered his mouth. “They tried to prevent him from shouting, but he died,” the official said. “The intention was not to kill him.”

To cover up their misdeed, the team rolled up Khashoggi’s body in a rug, took it out in a consular vehicle and handed it over to a “local cooperator.” A team member donned Khashoggi’s clothes and left through the back door of the consulate in an attempt to make it look as if Khashoggi had walked out of the building.

The official said the team then wrote a false report for their superiors.

Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News: “This should put an end to all the spurious stories that were being dished out by different media outlets. Today’s explanation should put all the conspiracy theories to rest.”

Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for Afghanistan during donor conference

Updated 24 November 2020

Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for Afghanistan during donor conference

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its support for Afghanistan during a pledging conference for the war-torn nation. 
The event, co-hosted by Finland and the United Nations in Geneva, saw the US, the European Union and other donors pledge billions of dollars in funding for Afghanistan.
Abdul Aziz Al-Wasel, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said the Kingdom has supported more than 35 projects in Afghanistan in various sectors, at a cost of more than $24m. 
The projects covered the humanitarian, health, education, water and food security fields. 
Al-Wasel said the Kingdom participated in all donor conferences held for Afghanistan out of its sense of responsibly towards Afghanistan and hopes for the country to achieve security and prosperity. 
He said the Kingdom believes that achieving stability in Afghanistan requires collective support through several steps, including conciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban, as well as the group’s commitment to renounce violence and engage in the political process. 
Countries like Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States and Canada stepped forward with hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of pledges for Afghanistan, after speeches from officials like Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.