Saudi envoy: Khashoggi murder ‘a tragedy,’ but justice will be done

Jamal Khashoggi was killed in October, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 07 August 2019

Saudi envoy: Khashoggi murder ‘a tragedy,’ but justice will be done

  • Prince Khalid accused opponents of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of using Khashoggi’s murder as a weapon
  • The prince also said 'It is obvious that something went wrong. And we are very unhappy about it'

The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is a tragedy both for his family and for Saudi Arabia, and those responsible will be brought to justice, the Saudi Ambassador to Germany said in an interview published on Sunday.

“In the end, we will know who did what and when. We take this very seriously,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told the German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag.

“Our authorities have already arrested 18 suspects in Saudi Arabia, there have been layoffs in the security apparatus. It is obvious that something went wrong. And we are very unhappy about it.

“The whole thing is a tragedy. For his family, but also for our country. I am very sad to see how much of our work has been destroyed as a result. We will ensure that those responsible are punished.”

Khashoggi, 59, was murdered on Oct. 2 in the Saudi consulate  in Istanbul. Eighteen Saudis have been arrested in connection with his death. The murder was alien to Saudi culture, Prince Khalid said.

“We don’t do anything like that. We do not deal with dissidents and exiles in this way. They remain Saudi citizens and if they have problems, we take care of them. We always tell them that their homeland is there for them.

“It is beyond my imagination what could have moved someone to do something like this. It is not our policy, not our culture, not our nature. It contradicts everything we stand for.”

Prince Khalid accused opponents of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of using Khashoggi’s murder as a weapon, and he defended the crown prince’s reform and development policies.

“Many people have an opinion about him without knowing him,” Prince Khalid said. “It is easy to find his policies bold, drastic, hurried. But remember, he took office at a very dangerous time. We were hurtling towards a wall.

“Due to the population boom of the past few decades, a whole generation of young Saudis were about to join an economy that was far from achieving the growth needed to employ and feed all these young people. When Mohammed bin Salman took office, it was clear: If we did not begin to turn our economy around immediately, we were going to hit this wall.

“And instability in our country, home to the holy sites of Makkah and Madinah, would pose a risk not only to ourselves. The crown prince has finally addressed these problems. He has done things that young people here have been hoping for for years.

“I have seldom met someone who deals with every issue of importance with such seriousness, such reflection and such attention to detail. He is engaging in the way he listens and argues. Always constructive, always optimistic, but always very rational as well.

“And that’s why he is also reflective and questioning. How should we provide for the next generation? Why do we waste so much energy? Why do we always do things this way and not in a completely different way? Why, why, why. He’s always asking why. And he finds good answers again and again.”

Prince Khalid spent a year away from Germany amid a diplomatic spat with the Kingdom, and returned on the instructions of King Salman and the crown prince. The crisis was now over, relations between the countries had been restored, and he believed other nations could learn from it.

“Essentially, what we are saying is, call us up and ask before you speak out in public,” he said. “We felt that nobody wanted to hear our point of view.

“We Saudis cultivate open and honest relationships with our partners. We only have a problem if someone does not talk to us when they have a problem with us. I think both sides have now understood that.”

Since his return to Berlin, "we have had very good talks with various representatives of the federal German government," Prince Khalid said.

“It is simply very clear that we have to be partners. Saudi Arabia is currently changing very rapidly and Germany can benefit from this enormously.

“Germans and Saudis should invest together, found joint companies — in both countries. Germany can help us to become a stronger, ultra-modern economy.

“Saudis and Germans communicate differently. We have to overcome these barriers. I'm counting on the many young Saudis who study in Germany. They can bring both worlds together.”


Saudi rail chief visits Haramain stations

Updated 52 min 55 sec ago

Saudi rail chief visits Haramain stations

  • Visit is part of project management’s plans for the Haramain station in Al-Sulaimaniyah and Jeddah airport
  • Railway inaugurated by King Salman on Sep. 24, 2018

JEDDAH: Saudi Transport Minister and Director-General of the Saudi Railway Organization (SAR), Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, visited the Haramain High-Speed Railway’s Al-Sulaimaniyah station and the King Abdul Aziz International Airport station in Jeddah on Thursday to check on preparations to resume operations at the two sites.

Al-Jasser was accompanied by Public Transport Authority Chairman Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, SAR CEO Bashar Al-Malik and other officials.

The visit is part of project management’s plans for the Haramain station in Al-Sulaimaniyah and Jeddah airport to serve airline passengers and Jeddah residents.

The service was halted on Sept. 29, 2019 after a fire broke out at the station in Jeddah, which left 11 people injured. The blaze, which was centered in the roof of the station, lasted for 15 hours.

As the first high-speed electric train in the region, the Haramain High-Speed Railway spans over 450km, connecting five stations across Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City and Madinah.

The railway was inaugurated by King Salman on Sep. 24, 2018. 

The project is in line with the objectives of the Vision 2030 reform plans, the main goal of which is to increase the number of pilgrims and visitors to the holy places. Officials described it as the biggest transportation project of its kind in the region.