France's Macron confirms raising 'worries' about Khashoggi in uncomfortable exchange with Saudi crown prince

France's Macron confirms raising 'worries' about Khashoggi in uncomfortable exchange with Saudi crown prince
French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed that he raised the Khashoggi issue with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
2 min read
02 December, 2018
Emmanuel Macron and Prince Mohammed met on the sidelines of the G20 summit [Anadolu]

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed on Sunday that he raised the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during his encounter with Prince Mohammed at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

The president's confirmation about his exchange with Prince Mohammed followed the release of footage of the two talking on the sidelines of the summit in Argentina.

According to analysis of the footage and its audio by The Guardian, the pair's conversation was as follows:

Macron: "I do worry. I am worried … I told you."

Prince Mohammed: “Yes, you told me,” the prince says. “Thank you very much.”

Macron: “You never listen to me,” 

Prince Mohammed: “No, I listen, of course”

The crown prince then smiles uncomfortably after apparently becoming aware of a television camera.

Macron: "Because I told you. It was more important for you."

Macron: (inaudible)

Prince Mohammed: "It's OK. I can deal with it."

[end of video]

The G20 was the first time Prince Mohammed came face-to-face with the world's most powerful leaders since the killing of Khashoggi in October.

Khashoggi, 59, initially went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

After repeatedly denying knowledge of the journalist's whereabouts for almost two weeks, Saudi authorities later acknowledged that the Washington Post columnist had been killed.

Riyadh initially said that Khashoggi had died in a scuffle at the consulate, however, later claimed that the writer had been murdered in a rogue operation.

At the G20, the issue of Khashoggi's murder was also raised to Prince Mohammed by British Prime Minister Theresa May. 

Downing Street issued a statement on Saturday saying that the British leader urged the prince "to build confidence that such a deplorable incident could not happen again".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not meet with the powerful crown prince, however reiterated calls for Saudi Arabia to reveal the identities of all those involved in the Khashoggi killing.

"We believe that it will also be in the interest of Saudi Arabia to clarify all aspects of the murder and prosecute all perpetrators," he said. 

The Turkish leader also stressed that Ankara does not wish to harm Saudi Arabia, which was represented by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the summit.

In previous speeches on Khashoggi's killing, Erdogan has appealed to Saudi monarch King Salman to bring the murderers and conspirators to justice, however has notably omitted mention of Prince Mohammed.

US and Turkish intelligence have reportedly concluded that the prince was behind the assassination order.