Saudi FM mocks 'Khashoggi hysteria', says Riyadh won't extradite suspects to Turkey

Saudi FM mocks 'Khashoggi hysteria', says Riyadh won't extradite suspects to Turkey
Adel al-Jubeir rebuffed Turkey's demands for Khashoggi's suspected killers to be extradited, adding that the case had become 'hysterical' while insisting the kingdom was the 'light' of the Middle East
3 min read
27 October, 2018
The Saudi Arabian foreign minister has mocked the global outrage against the shock murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as "fairly hysterical".

He also said Saudi Arabia will prosecute the suspects in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom, in response to a demand from Turkey for their extradition. 

"On the issue of extradition, the individuals are Saudi nationals. They're detained in Saudi Arabia, and the investigation is in Saudi Arabia, and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia," Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said at a regional defence forum in the Bahraini capital on Saturday.

In an attempt to shift the focus of criticism from the kingdom, Jubeir castigated Iran for being "recognised as the largest state sponsor of terrorism".

"We are dealing with two visions in Middle East, Saudi Arabia's is light and Iran's is darkness," he told the summit in Bahrain. Recent weeks have seen growing condemnation of both the kingdom's self-admitted role in the assassination of Khashoggi and its devastating airstrike campaign and de facto blockade of Yemen, blamed for pushing millions of civilians to the brink of famine.
We are dealing with two visions in Middle East, Saudi Arabia's is light and Iran's is darkness
Jubeir also told the defence summit that normalising ties with Israel was necessary for the peace process, the day after Prime Minister Netanyahu flew to Oman in a surprise trip.

He added that Saudi Arabia has ongoing security ties with Qatar, despite what he called the "diplomatic dispute".

Jubeir's comments come the day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the extradition of 18 Saudi nationals authorities say were involved in the murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi government critic killed in his country's consulate in Istanbul this month. 

After denying knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts for nearly three weeks, Riyadh admitted Khashoggi's murder had been "premeditated" but denied the involvement of the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

"We will overcome it," Jubeir told the defence forum. 

"The issue, as I said, is being investigated. We will know the truth. We will hold those responsible accountable. And we will put in place mechanisms to ensure it doesn't happen again."

Despite furore in the US, where Khashoggi was resident, over the journalist's murder, Jubeir told the summit that ties with America were "iron clad". 

Once an insider in Saudi royal circles, Khashoggi fell out of favour with the monarchy after Mohammed bin Salman was named heir to the throne last year. 

The columnist went into self-imposed exile in the United States, where he wrote a column for The Washington Post, which was often critical of the crown prince. 

Khashoggi was least seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to complete paperwork for his wedding to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.

She has demanded punishment of everyone involved in his murder "from the highest to the lowest levels."

Agencies contributed to this report.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab