Mattis warns Khashoggi murder "must concern us all greatly"

RIYADH Participants attend the last day of the Future Investment Initiative FII conference on Thursday.—AFP

RIYADH Participants attend the last day of the Future Investment Initiative FII conference on Thursday.—AFP

Slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi assumed authorities would not give him problems or arrest him in Turkey, though he was concerned tensions would arise when he visited the consulate in Istanbul, his fiancee said on Friday.

Khashoggi's Turkish fiancée, meanwhile, gave an anguished and tearful TV interview in which she said she keeps asking herself if she had missed some signs and should have prevented him from entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 - questions that she says she can not answer.

After weeks of denials, Riyadh has sought to draw a line under the crisis with an investigation.

However UN expert Agnes Callamard said Thursday that Khashoggi was the victim of an "extrajudicial execution" committed by the Saudi state.

Khashoggi, who lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for almost a year before his death, had written critically of Prince Mohammed's crackdown on dissent.

Saudi officials also admitted this week that those agents plans to murder Khashoggi - who has been critical of the Saudi kingdom - was "premeditated".

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives at the Future Investment Initiative FII conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 24, 2018. "The 1970s oil embargo ... and 9/11 was a shock to the relationship but we always go back, roll up our sleeves, works at it and make sure the relationship comes out stronger than before", he said.

Foreign Minister Jubeir, speaking at the same conference, said Riyadh's relations with Washington were "ironclad" amid what he called "hysteria in the media" over Khashoggi's killing.

After the journalist disappeared, Saudi Arabia initially insisted Khashoggi had walked out of the consulate after visiting the building.

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"The individuals are Saudi nationals".

Cengiz said Khashoggi was concerned tensions would arise when he visited the consulate for the first time on September 28, but he was treated well at that visit, which appeared to reassure him, she said.

On Friday evening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed her pledge to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia until the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi's death were revealed.

US President Donald Trump has said he wants to get to the bottom of the case, while also highlighting Riyadh's role as an ally against Tehran and Islamist militants, as well as a major purchaser of US arms.

More broadly, Mattis' speech on Saturday focused on regional cooperation and the US commitment to the Middle East.

Trump has called the case "one of the worst cover-ups in history". Saudi leadership has pushed responsibility down the chain of command.

In June of a year ago, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain collectively severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Mattis said more measures would follow. "There are other things we can do that are very, very powerful, very strong, and we'll do them".

In a furious opinion piece published last night, Turki al-Dakhil, general manager of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel, warned the U.S. "will stab its own economy to death" if it tried to impose sanctions.

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