MBS: Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide about Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom has met its promise to Washington to make up for Iranian crude oil supplies lost through US sanctions.

Human rights groups have called on Saudi Arabia to verify Khashoggi's whereabouts after Turkish and Saudi authorities offered conflicting accounts of his disappearance, with Ankara saying there is no evidence he left the diplomatic mission and Riyadh saying that he exited the same day.

When asked whether U.S. -Saudi relations were just as good as they were 24 hours ago before the President said these things, the Saudi leader replied in the affirmative, saying if you look at the picture overall, you have 99 percent of good things and one bad issue.

Trump made Saudi Arabia his first stop on his maiden global trip as president past year. "We believe that all the armaments we have from the United States of America are paid for, it's not free armament", he said.

However, the Arab source that spoke to Al Akhbar said Khashoggi had been taken out of another entrance to the consulate in a white vehicle in coordination with a Turkish security official. So we put that in that category, ' he said in response to USA leader's remarks.

"If Saudi authorities surreptitiously detained Khashoggi it would be yet another escalation of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman's reign of repression against peaceful dissidents and critics", Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW, said.

"If he's in Saudi Arabia, I would know that", he added. "Saudi Arabia needs something like around 2,000 years to maybe face some dangers", he quipped.Saudi Arabia "will pay nothing" for its security, as all the arms it had purchased from the United States for that goal have been paid for, he noted.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni Tawakkol Karman holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 5, 2018.

Notably, Khashoggi would not be the only Gulf national to have been arrested overseas to be returned to the kingdom, and other incidents have been far more public.

Saudi Arabia has recently stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.

He is well-known for his work interviewing Osama bin Laden, for his stint as deputy editor-in-chief of Arab News between 1999 and 2003, and his role as former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al Arab News Channel.

"We protect Saudi Arabia - would you say they're rich?"

Khashoggi regularly called out Saudi policies towards Qatar and Canada, the war in Yemen, and a crackdown on dissent and the media in the kingdom.

The BBC's Mark Lowen says the mystery threatens to deepen the strains in the relationship between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

  • Jon Douglas