Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman will attend G20 summit in Buenos Aires
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will attend the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires later this month, Saudi media reported Monday, potentially bringing him face-to-face with world leaders from the United States, Turkey, Canada and European countries for the first time since the slaying of Jamal Khashoggi.
The journalist was killed Oct. 2 in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
The two-day summit begins Nov. 30. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has kept international pressure mounting on the kingdom, is expected to attend.
Saudi media outlets, including Al Arabiya, quoted Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih as saying that the crown prince’s stop in Argentina will be part of a foreign tour, but no further details were immediately released.
World leaders, many of whom are expected at the G20 summit, have strongly condemned Khashoggi’s slaying and have urged Saudi Arabia to hold everyone involved in the killing accountable.
U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that the crown prince personally ordered the killing, and experts say such an operation is unlikely to have occurred without the knowledge of the crown prince, who controls all major levers of power in the kingdom.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said his administration will get a very full report, including who was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, today or tomorrow. Trump has criticized the Saudi response to the killing, but has been reluctant to say definitively if he thinks the crown prince ordered it.
Saudi authorities, who have offered a series of conflicting accounts since Khashoggi first went missing, deny the crown prince was involved in the killing. Saudi investigators say a 15-man team sent to Istanbul exceeded their authority when the lead negotiator decided to kill Khashoggi for refusing orders to return to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi prosecutors said last week they’re seeking the death penalty against five men suspected of killing Khashoggi, who had written critically of the crown prince in columns for the Washington Post.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia say that after the agents killed Khashoggi, they then dismembered his body, which has not been found.
On Monday, the crown prince’s father King Salman gave his first major speech since Khashoggi’s death, expressing support for his son, but making no mention of allegations that the young royal ordered the killing.
The annual policy speech by the king instead highlighted Saudi Arabia’s priorities for the coming year, focusing on issues such as the war in Yemen, security for Palestinians, stability in the oil market, countering rival Iran and job creation for Saudis.
The king’s speech made no reference to that, but he did commend Saudi Arabia’s judiciary and public prosecution for their work in seeking justice in accordance with Islamic law. He said the kingdom takes pride in the blessed efforts of the judiciary and public prosecution, adding that Saudi Arabia affirms its commitment to the application of Islamic law.
Also on Monday, Germany banned 18 Saudis suspected of involvement in the Khashoggi killing from much of Europe and moved to halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.