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February 28, 2021

Saudi Embassy denies MBS role in Khashoggi murder

National

February 28, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Saudi Embassy in Islamabad has issued a statement of the kingdom, quoting that the US information claiming Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) approved the hit on Khashoggi is “negative, false and unacceptable”.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected a US report showing the crown prince approved an operation that killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has rejected the report by US intelligence agencies that assigns accountability to MBS for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The Saudi mission here issued the reaction on behalf of its government in less than 24 hours of issuance of the US statement. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the kingdom’s leadership and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The US intelligence community report, produced by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirms that US spy agencies had concluded MBS “approved an operation” to capture or kill the Saudi journalist in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. His body has never been recovered. “This was an abhorrent crime and a flagrant violation of the kingdom’s laws and values,” the ministry statement said. “This crime was committed by a group of individuals that have transgressed all pertinent regulations and authorities of the agencies where they were employed,” the statement said. “The individuals concerned were convicted and sentenced by the courts in the kingdom and these sentences were welcomed by the family of Jamal Khashoggi.” The four-page report had been held back from public view by former US president Donald Trump but was released by the new President Joe Biden who had pledged during his 2020 political campaign to hold the Saudis accountable for Khashoggi’s murder. US spy agencies, including the CIA, based their assessment of MBS’s role in his “control of decision making” and the “direct involvement of a key adviser” and members of his “protective detail” in the operation. Saudi Arabia has long denied MBS had direct knowledge of Khashoggi’s murder. After the report’s release on Friday, the Biden administration announced travel ban on 76 Saudi nationals.