Manama: [Update] The UAE, on Saturday backed the directives and decisions issued by King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia in relation to the regrettable and painful death of the Saudi Citizen Jamal Khashoggi.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, commended Saudi King’s keenness and great efforts made to unearth the truth on Khashoggi’s case, which was clearly reflected in the King’s decisions and directives.
Saudi Arabia, represented by its leadership, was and still is a state of institutions based on justice and fairness. The royal decisions and actions taken after the investigation in this case reaffirm these values and established principles to ensure the implementation of law and justice.
Shaikh Abdullah prayed to Allah Almighty to protect Saudi Arabia, its leadership and people.
An official source at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday said that the King of Saudi Arabia has ordered the Public Prosecutor to investigate the circumstances surrounding the "regrettable and painful incident of Jamal Khashoggi's death", reported the Saudi Press Agency, SPA.
According to the state agency, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud also ordered the formation of a committee to review the case and hold all those involved accountable "no matter who they are" and to deal "decisively and comprehensively with any mistake or failure, particularly concerning any citizens, regardless of any considerations."
The source added that "These measures reflect the leadership's keenness (to ensure) the safety and security of all the citizens of the homeland and its determination not just to hold the direct defaulters and officials accountable, but also to include corrective measures preventing the occurrence of such grave error in the future."
On Saturday, a tweet sent out by the SPA on Saturday quoted the Saudi Minister of Justice as saying that the Kingdom's judiciary enjoys full independence to deal with the issue that has occurred within the Kingdom's sovereign territory.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday he found Saudi Arabia's explanation about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi credible and termed it an "important first step".
Trump added if the US takes action, he does not want it to impact arms sales to the kingdom, which said Khashoggi was killed in a fight at its Istanbul consulate.
"I do, I do," Trump said when asked if he found the Saudis' explanation credible, adding: "It's early, we haven't finished our review or investigation, but... I think it's a very important first step."
"I would prefer, if there is going to be some form of sanction or what we may determine to do, if anything... that we don't use as retribution canceling $110 billion worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs," he said during a visit to Arizona, referring to a major arms deal with the kingdom.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that the suspects in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went to Istanbul to see him following indications of the possibility of him returning home, a Saudi official has said.
"However, the discussions with Khashoggi at the consulate in Istanbul “did not go as expected and degenerated into a brawl and a fistfight that led to his death; may God rest his soul in peace. The suspects then tried to cover up what happened,” the source said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) early on Saturday.
The Public Prosecution launched its investigation based on information provided by the Turkish authorities to the Saudi-Turkish joint security team.
The probe sought to determine whether any of the suspects had any information or relation to what had happened, as the initial information that had been provided to the Saudi security authorities indicated that Khashoggi had left the consulate, the official said, adding that the investigation into the 18 suspects is still going on.
“Saudi Arabia deplores the painful events and reiterates the commitment of the authorities to bring the facts to the public opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and to bring them to justice by referring them to the competent courts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the official said.
Khashoggi had been living in the US since last year after he left Saudi Arabia. He was last seen in public on October 2 as he was entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
A statement issued by the foreign ministry expressed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation of the “distinguished cooperation shown by the brotherly Government of Turkey” and of its efforts that have contributed significantly in the investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
“Saudi Arabia also values the wise stances of the countries that have opted to wait for the results of the investigation and to distance themselves from speculations and allegations,” the statement said.
Investigation team formed
Meanwhile, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has relieved Ahmad Bin Hassan Bin Mohammed Asiri, the Vice President of General Intelligence, and Saud Bin Abdullah Al Qahtani, Advisor to the Royal Court, of their posts.
In a second order, King Salman terminated the services of Assistant Chief of General Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bin Saleh Al Rumaih, Assistant to the Head of General Intelligence for Human Resources; Major General Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Shaya; and the Director of the General Directorate of Security and Protection at the General Intelligence General Rashad Bin Hamed Al Mohammadi.
The sacking of the high-ranking officers and official was announced shortly after the kingdom’s Attorney General said that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi died during a fistfight at the general consulate in Istanbul.
“Preliminary investigations carried out by the Public Prosecution Office in the disappearance of Saudi citizen Jamal Bin Ahmad Khashoggi revealed that the discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him during his presence at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fist fight, which led to his death, may his soul rest in peace,” the Attorney General said in a statement.
“The Public Prosecutor's Office affirms that its investigations continue in this case with 18 detainees so far, all of whom [are] Saudi nationals, in order to uncover and announce all the facts, and to hold accountable all those involved in this case and bring them to justice.”
King Salman also ordered the formation of a ministerial committee to address the “urgent and pressing need to restructure the General Intelligence Presidency, modernise its system and regulations, define its powers accurately, and assess the procedures, methods and powers governing its work and administrative and structural workflow to ensure proper functioning and the determination of responsibilities.”
The committee is headed by Crown Prince and Chairman of the Council of Political and Security Affairs and comprises the Minister of Interior, the President of the Royal Court, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Head of General Intelligence, the President of the State Security, Dr Mousaed Al Aiban and Dr Ibrahim Al Assaf.
The committee has one month to present its work, according to the order.
- with inputs from Agencies