Saudi Ambassador to US terms reports on Khashoggi's disappearance false, malicious
The Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman has termed as "grim and malicious" rumors over the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and described as false all claims of his killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
In a statement released on Monday evening, Prince Khalid said he felt the need to address the malicious rumors about Khashoggi's fate.
Prince Khalid said he knows that many in Washington and the world over share concern for the wellbeing of Khashoggi.
He added" I assure you that the reports that suggest that Jamal Khashoggi went missing in the Consulate in Istanbul or that the Kingdom's authorities have detained or killed him are absolutely false, and baseless.
Prince Khalid noted that the first reports out of Turkey were that he exited the Consulate and then disappeared. Shortly after the relevant authorities in the Kingdom became engaged in his case, the accusations changed to him being held inside the Consulate. After Turkish authorities and the media were allowed to inspect the Consulate building in its entirety, the accusations changed to the outrageous claim that he was murdered in the Consulate, during business hours and with dozens of staff and visitors in the building.
The Ambassador said he does not know who is behind these claims, or their intentions and that he frankly doesn't care about.
He downplayed the significance of Khashoggi’s "differences" with the kingdom's leaders, despite what he called Khashoggi’s "choice to go into his so called 'self-exile.'"
“What we do care about is Jamal's wellbeing, and revealing the truth about what occurred. Jamal is a Saudi citizen who went missing after leaving the Consulate. This was not his first visit to the Consulate in Istanbul, as he regularly came to the Consulate (as well as the Embassy in Washington) in the last few months for citizen services. The Saudi Consulate is fully cooperating with the local authorities to uncover what happened after he left, Prince Khalid said.
In addition, the Kingdom has sent a security team, with the Turkish government's approval, to work with their Turkish counterparts on the investigation. Our aim is to chase every lead to uncover the truth behind his disappearance, Prince Khalid added.
“Though the situation is extraordinary, these measures are not. Jamal is a Saudi citizen whose safety and security is a top priority for the Kingdom, just as is the case with any other citizen. We will not spare any effort to locate him, just as we would if it were any other Saudi citizen.”, Prince Khalid concluded.