No German arms to Saudi until Khashoggi case is clarified: Merkel


Saudi Arabia will prosecute the suspects in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh's foreign minister said in response to a call by Turkey for their extradition.

"The reasoning behind the extradition request is that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Turkey by Saudi nationals who travelled to Turkey for this specific objective", a senior Turkish official said.

Beyond the detention of the 18 suspects, five Saudi intelligence chiefs have been sacked, including two who were part of the crown prince's inner circle.

Speaking at a security summit in the Bahraini capital Manama on Saturday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir insisted that the regime was combating what he called Iran's vision of "darkness" in the region. "What we say to people is wait until everything is done" then decide if the investigation was serious or not. Saudi Arabia is the lynchpin of a US -backed regional alliance against Iran but the outcry over the murder has strained Riyadh's relations with the West. Dozens of Western officials, bankers and executives boycotted a major investment conference in Riyadh this week.

Hatice Cengiz, who is Turkish, said she would never have planned to marry the journalist had she known it would lead to his death.

Saudi Arabia had denied any involvement in the killing before admitting the journalist died in their Istanbul consulate after a fight.

Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, vanished at Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Last week, the kingdom acknowledged that the killing was "premeditated". A team of 15 men had traveled in the hours before Khashoggi's disappearance and returned to Saudi Arabia the same day. Saudi leadership has pushed responsibility down the chain of command.

However, world leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May and President Trump have called the Saudi's account "not credible" with the United States leader saying it was the "worst cover up in the history of cover ups".

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The top U.S. diplomat said the Saudi suspects came from "the intelligence services, the royal court, the foreign ministry and other Saudi ministries".

A protester holds a sign saying "We will not leave without Jamal Khashoggi" outside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul on October 5, 2018.

But as more information emerged from the Turkish authorities about the murder at the Saudi consulate, Trump called it "the worst in the history of cover-ups".

For decades, Mr Khashoggi was close to the Saudi royal family.

The GCC "will remain the most important institution for the Gulf States", he said, underlining keenness to spare the GCC the impact of differences among members, particularly in the military side.

"It is not that we don't have any other information or documents".

Khashoggi lived in self-imposed exile in the US for the past year and wrote editorial columns for The Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's heir apparent, and his crackdown on dissent.

He said the remains had be found inside the well, but that has yet to be confirmed by Turkish investigators.