Saudi prince was in constant touch with Khashoggi hit-squad boss

April FrancisDec 02, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent at least 11 messages to his closest adviser, who allegedly oversaw the team that killed United States columnist Jamal Khashoggi +, in the hours before and after his death in October, Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing a highly classified Central Intelligence Agency assessment report.

Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi crown prince, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. "So why should we undertake any steps to deteriorate our relations with Saudi Arabia?".

The two men greeted each other as if they were old friends, beaming and embracing.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest global oil exporter, has been surpassed by Russian Federation as top crude supplier to China in the past two years.

In the audio of the conversation, it's possible to make out the prince saying "Don't worry", to which Macron responds: "I am worried".

The crown prince's father, King Salman, has publicly backed MBS over recent weeks, and the royal family appears to have publicly accepted that MBS and his succession can not be challenged without seriously disrupting the internal stability of the family and, by extension, the state.

2018 in Buenos Aires. Ludovic Marin  AFP Getty images
2018 in Buenos Aires. Ludovic Marin AFP Getty images

The timing of the WSJ article is particulalry hard for MBS, who is now attending a G20 summit in Argentina with other world leaders. The Prime Minister told bin Salman there needed to "be full transparency about exactly what had happened" following the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

Later in the one-minute clip, Macron says, "You never listen to me".

American intelligence officials believe the order for his death came directly from the crown prince, yet U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested he does not believe their assessment. The Kremlin says the two will still have a chat on the sidelines, which the White House hasn't confirmed or denied.

"It is absolutely the case that the relationship we have with Saudi Arabia means that we are able to raise issues that are hard issues", Ms May told reporters after the G20 summit concluded. Notable exceptions include Donald Trump and Putin.

The Saudi Prince has succeeded in receiving a reasonable welcome at the G20, despite reports claiming ahead of his visit that he risks facing cold shoulders.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking to Sky News before the summit, said she would press the crown prince both on Yemen and Khashoggi at the G20. I continue to work on this issue.

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