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Crown Prince MbS denounces 'heinous' journalist murder he allegedly ordered

MbS spoke for the first time since Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi investment forum [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 October, 2018

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The Saudi prince widely believed to have instructed Khashoggi's killing said he wanted to see the perpetrators brought to justice.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, alleged to have instructed the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Wednesday denounced the "heinous crime".

Speaking publicly for the first time since Khashoggi's death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, MbS insisted the kingdom was cooperating with Turkish authorities and "justice will prevail".

He appeared on a panel of other Arab leaders at the Saudi Future Investment Initiative, dubbed "Davos in the desert", which was largely boycotted by Western politicians and corporate bigwigs over the Khashoggi affair.

"The crime was very painful to all Saudis," he said. "And it is painful, heinous to every human being in the world."

"Those behind this crime will be held accountable... in the end justice will prevail."

Saudi leaders have denied involvement in Khashoggi's murder, pushing responsibility down the chain of command.

But the kingdom is under mounting international pressure over the killing amid US accusations of a monumental cover-up by the kingdom.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested MbS could be behind the murder. "The prince is running things over there," the American leader said, in his toughest remarks yet on the case.

MbS also attempted to downplay any diplomatic crisis with Turkey, which is leading the investigation into Khashoggi's death. 

"Many are trying to exploit the Khashoggi affair to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey," he said.

"But they will not succeed as long as there is a king named Salman and a crown prince named Mohammed bin Salman."

The 33-year-old heir to the throne appeared at the Saudi FII next to Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, who is widely believed to have been abducted by the Saudi leadership last year and forced to step down from his post, before later rescinding his resignation.

"Prime Minister Saad is going to be here for two days so I hope that rumours don't start that he's been kidnapped," MbS joked, before laughing and shaking hands with Hariri.

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