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Saudis don’t know where Khashoggi’s body is: Minister

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journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Washington, Feb 11 (IANS) Saudi Arabia does not know where murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s body is, the Kingdom’s Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir has said, despite having in custody the Saudi team that killed him.

In an interview to US’ CBS’ “Face the Nation” show that was broadcast on Sunday, Al-Jubeir said: “The death of Jamal Khashoggi was a mass-massive tragedy. It was a mistake…. committed by officials of the Saudi government acting outside their scope of authority.”

He said that 11 individuals have been charged with the crime and the trials have begun. “We have said we will investigate. We will hold those accountable- those responsible accountable and we will punish them.”

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a supporter-turned-critic of Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman, was murdered inside the Kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul on October 2 and his body was reportedly dismembered with a bone saw. His remains are yet to be found.

Al-Jubeir told the US programme that “we don’t know” where is Khashoggi’s body and that the public prosecutor responsible for the case had sought evidence from Turkey but had received no response.

“We are still waiting to receive any evidence they (Turkey) may have.”

On being asked why those in detention can’t reveal where Khashoggi’s body was, Al-Jubeir said: “We are still investigating. We have now a number of possibilities and we’re asking them what they did with the body.

“… I think this investigation is ongoing, and I would expect that eventually we will find the truth.”

The minister again denied the Crown Prince’s involvement in the murder. “Nobody in Saudi Arabia knew about the murder except the people who did it.”

He also dismissed the New York Times’ report detailing how US intelligence intercepted communications of Bin Salman telling a top aide in 2017 that he would “use a bullet” on the journalist if he did not return to the Kingdom.

“This was not a government sanctioned operation. We have an investigation and we have a trial. And many things have been put out that turned out to be incorrect.”

The US’ Central Intelligence Agency has, however, concluded the Saudi operation was likely directed by the Crown Prince.

India

India, Saudi Arabia agree on need to exert pressure on countries backing terror

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Prince Salman PM Mdi

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) India and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday said that there was a need to exert “all possible pressure” on countries which extend any kind of support to terror activities.

Addressing the media after delegation-level talks with visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the “barbaric terror attack” in Pulwama was another manifestation of the danger posed by terrorism to humanity.

“We agree that to deal with it effectively, there is need to put all possible pressure on countries which are giving any kind of support to terrorism,” Modi said.

He said it was extremely necessary to destroy terror infrastructure and to punish terrorists and their supporters.

Modi said there was need for an action plan to deal with extremism so that the youths were not misguided by forces linked to terror and violence.

“I am happy that Saudi Arabia and India have common thoughts on this,” he said.

Prince Mohammed said in his remarks that his country was with India on the need to curb extremism and was willing to share intelligence for this purpose.

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Middle East

Counter-terrorism, energy security to top Indian agenda during Saudi Crown Prince visit

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saudi prince

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Counter-terrorism, including Pakistans role in sponsoring terrorism against India, and energy security are likely to be on top of Indias agenda for discussion during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans visit starting on Tuesday.

India is expected to take up with the Saudi Crown Prince Pakistan’s role in the Pulwama terror attack that killed at least 49 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, informed sources said.

India has already started diplomatic efforts to isolate Pakistan internationally with Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale briefing envoys of around two dozen nations including those of P-5 and South Asian nations about Pakistan’s footprint in the Pulwama attack.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to New Delhi Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saty has said that Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India presents a “historic opportunity” to expand collaboration in all sectors.

Moammed bin Salman is on a three-nation diplomatic tour to Pakistan, India and China.

He will be on a two-day visit to India staring February 19 and will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. He is visiting Pakistan before coming to India.

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Middle East

Saudi Crown Prince to arrive in Pakistan

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Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Islamabad, Feb 17 (IANS) Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is set to arrive here on Sunday on his first-ever visit to Pakistan after his elevation to the position of Crown Prince in April 2017.

The Crown Prince, who is visiting Pakistan at the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, will be accorded a red carpet welcome and presented a guard of honour at the Prime Minister’s House after his arrival at Noor Khan Air Base in Rawalpindi, reports Dawn news.

A high-power delegation comprising key Ministers and some prominent businessmen, besides members of the royal family, are coming with the Crown Prince.

He was initially due to reach Pakistan on Saturday but his arrival was delayed by a day. Saudi Arabia has not cited any reason for the delay.

Pakistan has described the visit as a “historical one” which will help stabilise its crippling economy as over $21 billion worth of agreements are likely to be signed between the two countries.

Two receptions will be held in the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s House in honour of the Crown Prince during which one-on-one meetings between him and President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Khan will take place.

He will also meet Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

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