Ryad (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman praised his country’s justice and supported Crown Prince Mohammed in his first public address since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a world-wide affair which has considerably tarnished the image of Ryad.
But the CIA concluded that he was behind this murder, according to the Washington Post.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the order to kill came from the “highest level” of the Saudi government. Without calling into question the king, he promised that no concealment of the crime will be allowed.
“The kingdom was founded on the Islamic principles of justice and equality, and we are proud of the efforts of the judiciary and the prosecution in carrying out the task entrusted to them,” said the king on Monday. his annual speech to the Majlis al-Shura, a consultative assembly.
The 82-year-old monarch did not directly mention the killing of Jamal Kashoggi, a Saudi power critic, who worked for the Washington Post.
“We will ensure that this country will not move away from the application, without discrimination, of the law of God,” the Saudi monarch added before the highest dignitaries of the kingdom, including Prince Mohammed.
In the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, only the king has the authority to oust the heir to the throne.
In his speech, the king welcomed his son’s economic reform program aimed at creating jobs for a mostly young population and preparing the kingdom for the post-oil era.
Saudi television Al-Arabiya announced that the Crown Prince would attend the next G20 in Argentina, his first trip abroad since the murder.
He will be facing world leaders from Turkey, the United States and other European nations at the two-day summit beginning November 30.
“The Crown Prince sends a very clear message to the international community: nothing they say or do about the Khashoggi case will interfere with Saudi decision-making,” said Baker Institute researcher Kristian Ulrichsen from Rice University in the United States.
“In fact, he challenges his international critics to put their rhetoric into practice and they will not do it,” he added.
– internal support –
US President Donald Trump refrained from blaming Prince Mohammed despite the CIA’s findings.
Saudi Arabia has, on many occasions, changed its version of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
The Saudi prosecutor admitted last Thursday that the journalist had been drugged and his body dismembered at the consulate.
Out of a total of 21 suspects, he indicted 11 people who will be brought to justice. He requested capital punishment for five of them.
Ryad’s historic ally, Washington hastened to announce sanctions against 17 Saudi officials for their “responsibility or complicity” in killing Khashoggi.
On Monday, Germany decided to impose sanctions, including banning access to the Schengen European space, to 18 Saudis suspected of being involved in the murder of the journalist.
The king and crown prince resumed Monday an unprecedented domestic tour by visiting the region of Tabuk (north) to seek the support of tribal and religious leaders.
They had already been to the beginning of the month in the central region of Qassim and the neighboring region of Hail.
King Salman occasionally pardoned some common law prisoners and ordered the resumption of payment to officials of bonuses that were suspended in 2016 under austerity measures.
“These actions reflect a campaign to strengthen support for the royal family and demonstrate public confidence in the Crown Prince,” said Kristin Diwan of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
According to him, “the king, relying on the traditional assets of prestige and patronage plays a central role in this campaign, to (…) consolidate the power and the future of his direct descendant”.