Khashoggi murder: Crown prince vows to punish 'culprits

BY: BBC.com
The Saudis have previously denied accusations the prince himself had a role in the killing
The Saudis have previously denied accusations the prince himself had a role in the killing

The Saudi crown prince has vowed to punish all the "culprits" responsible for the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

 Speaking at a business forum in Riyadh, Mohammed bin Salman said "the crime was painful to all Saudis" and there would never be a rift with Turkey.

The Saudis have previously denied accusations that the prince himself had a role in the killing.

Khashoggi died during a 2 October visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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The Saudi government has blamed the murder on rogue agents.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the journalist was the victim of a carefully planned "political murder" by Saudi intelligence officers and other officials.

What has the prince said?

He vowed that "the perpetrators will be brought to justice".

He said there had been good co-operation with Turkey, adding: "A lot of people are trying to seize this painful situation to create a rift between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And I want to send them a message: you will never be able to do that.

"The rift will never be there."

The three-day conference, called the Future Investment Initiative but dubbed "Davos in the desert" after the Swiss forum, is important for the Saudis but has already been boycotted by many Western business leaders and politicians in the wake of the Khashoggi affair.

The Saudis have tried to portray business as usual at the forum, although Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih acknowledged on Tuesday there was a "crisis" over the Khashoggi issue.

The crown prince made an appearance on Tuesday but said little.

He attended after joining his father, King Salman, in meeting members of the Khashoggi family.

Changing mood

BBC's Sebastian Usher in Riyadh

The sense in Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly growing that this is not a storm that can simply be weathered till it's over.

Botched PR attempts by the Saudis, such as the king and crown prince meeting Khashoggi's son on Tuesday, are only exacerbating the situation.

Crisis meetings have been held by the royal family to decide how far they must go to satisfy the international mood of revulsion. But there appears little prospect of dramatic change at the top.

The mood among foreign investors has noticeably darkened. One American investor who was enthusiastically banging the drum for the crown prince on Tuesday looked a different man this morning as he hurried off to an urgent meeting to discuss a multi-billion-dollar project.