Saudi Arabia calls Khashoggi killing 'grave mistake,' says prince not aware

Karen Attiah is a Ghanaian American writer and Global Opinions editor for the Washington Post

Karen Attiah is a Ghanaian American writer and Global Opinions editor for the Washington Post

"Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms", Germany, Britain and France said in their joint statement yesterday.

Saudi authorities have said Khashoggi died in a "brawl" with Saudi officials at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, the latest in a series of conflicting explanations for his death.

"Why did 15 people come here (from Saudi Arabia) and why were 18 people arrested?"

Prosecutors have previously questioned consulate staff; some Turkish employees reportedly said they were instructed not to go to work around the time that Khashoggi disappeared.

That yet again adds to the pressure Saudi Arabia faces over the slaying of the Washington Post columnist.

For weeks Saudi Arabia denied knowledge of what happened to him, initially claiming Khashoggi had left the building.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled that Germany will suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the kingdom's admission to the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khoshoggi - a step to punish Riyadh that Trump has repeatedly said he won't go near.

"We are far from seeing everything on the table and the perpetrators being brought to justice", Merkel said. He also said Prince Mohammed was not responsible.

Salah thanked the king and expressed his "sincere gratitude" to Prince Mohammed for the calls, according to separate press releases published by the SPA.

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A separate report by newspaper Yeni Safak said Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a member of Prince Mohammed's entourage on trips to the United States, France and Spain this year, made the calls from the consulate.

CNN has obtained exclusive law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government's investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi's clothes, a fake beard, and glasses.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he will make statements about the murdered journalist during his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.

On the day of Khashoggi's disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources.

But after a Turkish media report claiming Khashoggi's Apple Watch may have captured gruesome audio of him being tortured, drugged, killed and later dismembered, the Saudi government finally admitted the journalist was dead.

"While it might be too early to evaluate the reaction of the worldwide community, these moves might be read as a serious initial signal that the Saudi leadership is course correcting", wrote Ayham Kamel, the head of Mideast and North Africa research at the Eurasia Group.

Speaking late Saturday after a campaign rally in Nevada, Trump said he will be working with Congress on the U.S.' official response.

"There remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened ... beyond the hypotheses that have been raised so far in the Saudi investigation, which need to be backed by facts to be considered credible".

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