World Politics

Saudi Arabia was declared guilty over Khashoggi's murder 'without people knowing the facts,' foreign minister says

Key Points
  • Saudi Arabia's foreign minister insists that Saudi Arabia's government and leadership were not involved in Jamal Khashoggi's murder.
  • He tells CNBC Saudi Arabia's investigation is ongoing and the kingdom would like to see more cooperation from Turkey.
  • "If you think our trials and our investigation is a Mickey Mouse one, criticize us, but wait until it's done," he said.
Khashoggi death 'unfortunate accident and a crime,' says Saudi foreign minister

Saudi Arabia was presumed to be guilty over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi without people knowing the facts or waiting for investigations to be completed, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNBC on Wednesday.

"Saudi Arabia was declared guilty without people seeing evidence, without people knowing the facts," Al-Jubeir said, speaking to CNBC's Hadley Gamble in Riyadh.

"This has continued since. We have seen leaks in the media, out of Turkey and out of Qatari-owned news entities that are disparaging of the kingdom and we see a lot of accusations thrown at the Kingdom of Saudi (Arabia), but they are not true."

Al-Jubeir repeated comments he has made previously, saying the killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 was "an unfortunate accident," and those who committed it "will be brought to justice." "We have made it very clear that Saudi Arabia's government is not involved in this and the crown prince is not involved in this, at all," he said.

These comments came after a weekend report from The Washington Post that said the CIA had determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi.

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Al-Jubeir added that Saudi Arabia's investigation is ongoing and that the kingdom would like to see more cooperation from Turkey. "We've asked Turkey to provide us with evidence, and we're still waiting for some of that evidence," he said.

"Every Saudi is shocked and outraged by this crime. ... This was not authorized, this was an abuse of authority, and every Saudi wants to see justice served," he said. The kingdom was reviewing procedures to make sure a similar event can never happen again, he added.

He said the world should judge only after Saudi Arabia had published the results of its own investigation. "Wait until the investigation is complete, wait until you see the legal steps that are taken against those who committed this crime, and the procedures we're putting in place to prevent it from happening again, then judge us. ... If you think our trials and our investigation is a Mickey Mouse one, criticize us, but wait until it's done," he said.

Trump statement

A day before Al-Jubeir's interview, President Donald Trump affirmed his support for the kingdom and its leadership despite an international furor over the killing of Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi who wrote for The Washington Post.

Trump said Saudi Arabia was an important political and economic ally, and he appeared to dismiss media reports that the CIA could conclude, in its own report on the death, that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's killing.

"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event," Trump said in the statement, though he added: "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't."

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Trump appeared to downplay any findings from his own intelligence agency, saying that "we may never know all of the facts surrounding" Khashoggi's death, but "our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." In remarks outside the White House before departing for the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said the CIA had "nothing definitive" on the crown prince's involvement.

Saudi Arabia and the crown prince has repeatedly denied any involvement in the death, although the kingdom has changed its version of what happened in the Istanbul consulate several times.

In October, Al-Jubeir admitted that the killing had been premeditated but said it had been carried out during a "rogue operation" when individuals had exceeded their authority. The Saudi public prosecutor has announced charges on 11 suspects alleged to have had a role in the death and has called for the death penalty against five of the suspects.