Journalist killing ‘heinous’: Saudi prince

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was heinous.Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince has called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a “heinous crime that cannot be justified”.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman separately said on Wednesday that the killing of the Washington Post columnist will not “drive a wedge” between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

His comments came at the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

This year’s summit has been overshadowed by the killing on October 2 of Mr Khashoggi.

Turkish officials say a 15-man Saudi team killed the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. A member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage was allegedly at the consulate at the time.

International business leaders have pulled out from attending the summit over the killing.

The Saudi prince said his “war” is restoring the Middle East to its past glory. He did not mention Saudi Arabia’s conflict with Yemen.

Prince Mohammed received a standing ovation for the comment.

Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s civil war, which has displaced two million more and helped spawn a cholera epidemic. Saudi-led air strikes have struck medical clinics and markets, killing large numbers of civilians and damaging vital infrastructure.

Earlier, Turkey’s president kept up pressure on Saudi Arabia over Mr Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly spoke by phone with Prince Mohammed just before he arrived with other Arab leaders at the investment summit in Riyadh.

Prince Mohammed immediately addressed the killing after taking to the stage at the event.

“The crime was really painful to all Saudis. I believe it is painful for every human in the world,” he said.

“It is a heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

He continued: “We know that many are trying to use this painful thing to create a kind of wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

“I want to send them a message: They will not be able to do that as long as there is king called King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and a crown prince called Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.”

Mr Erdogan focused in again on Mr Khashoggi’s death.

“We are determined not to allow the murder to be covered up and for those responsible – from the person who gave the order to those who executed it – not to escape justice,” he said in the capital, Ankara.