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Iran Press TV

Saudi allows Turkey to search well in consul's residence after initial rejection

Iran Press TV

Wed Oct 24, 2018 03:22PM

Saudi Arabia has allowed Turkish investigators to search a well in the garden of the Saudi consul general's residence in Istanbul, following an initial refusal by the kingdom's officials, a report says.

Saudi Arabia's reluctance to grant Turkish authorities permission to search places associated with the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 has at times delayed the investigation.

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency initially reported that Saudi officials had rejected to permit Turkish police to search the well in the garden of the consul's home, but broadcaster NTV later said that they had received permission and would begin inspections on Wednesday.

Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, when Saudi authorities launched a massive crackdown on dissent.

He was seeking to secure documentation for his forthcoming marriage when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but never came out despite Riyadh's initial claim that he exited the mission less than an hour after entering.

The kingdom, however, later admitted that the journo had died in the consulate after "discussions" turned into "a brawl and a fist fight." The admission came after diplomatic pressure grew tremendously on Riyadh to give an account on the mysterious fate of its national. However, it said that it did not know the whereabouts of the journo's body, which is widely believed to be dismembered.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey would not allow those responsible for the killing to avoid justice, and has called on Riyadh to search from "top to bottom" to uncover those behind the killing.

A presidential source said Erdogan spoke to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Wednesday, adding that they discussed the steps needed to bring to light all aspects of the killing of Khashoggi.

Earlier on Wednesday, an adviser to Erdogan said Mohammed bin Salman has "blood on his hands" in the murder case of Khashoggi.

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations (G7) – Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, the UK, and the US – strongly denounced the murder of Khashoggi and found Riyadh's explanation of his death unconvincing since it has left "many questions unanswered."

France to take appropriate measures if Saudi guilt proven

France's government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said his country will take appropriate measures if Saudi Arabia's guilt over the killing of the critic is clearly established.

Until facts on the case have been clearly established and corroborated by French intelligence services, France "will not take any decision," Griveaux said at a press conference in Paris on Wednesday.

Griveaux said that if the kingdom's responsibility is proven, Paris "would draw the necessary conclusions and take actions," stressing that such a move would not merely involve limiting arms exports.

This comes a day after Amnesty International called on France to suspend its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, due to Riyadh's war crimes in Yemen and the display of its disrespect for human rights.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly said her country exported 11 billion euros ($12.6 billion) to Saudi Arabia between 2008 to 2017, a figure which was crucial for French jobs.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier called for a European ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia following the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He echoed earlier remarks by Chancellor Angela Merkel who vowed to suspend arms exports to Riyadh until uncertainty over the fate of Khashoggi vanishes.

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