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Gulf allies back Riyadh on Khashoggi murder report

February 28, 2021 at 1:01 pm

A demonstrator holds a poster picturing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 25 October 2018 [YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images]

Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday supported Saudi Arabia in rejecting a CIA report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reports Anadolu Agency.

The move came a day after the CIA released an unclassified report that blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi in Istanbul.

The report concluded that bin Salman approved “to capture or kill” Khashoggi since he considered him a “threat to the kingdom” and also approved the use of violent measures if necessary to silence him.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a statement rejecting the report, describing it as “negative, false and unacceptable”, adding that it contained “inaccurate information and conclusions”.

US President Joe Biden is set to make an announcement on the report and relations with Saudi Arabia on Monday.

In a statement, the Bahraini Foreign Ministry endorsed the Saudi rejection of the report, pointing out the “central role” played by Saudi Arabia on regional and international matters.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry, for its part, lauded the kingdom’s role in combating “violence and extremism and its relentless support for security and stability in the region and across the globe”.

Read: Don’t bully Riyadh, Saudi columnists tell Biden administration

The UAE also defended Saudi Arabia, expressing confidence in the kingdom’s judiciary and its “commitment to enforcing the law in a transparent and impartial manner, and holding accountable all those involved in this case”.

The head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, also voiced support for the Saudi statement.

According to a report by Saudi SPA News Agency, Al-Othaimeen said he rejects the “inaccurate deductions cited in the report, which has no decisive proofs.”

Al-Othaimeen said he supports all judicial measures that have been taken against the culprits in the crime and against whom verdicts have been issued.

Khashoggi was brutally killed and likely dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, and while Saudi officials initially denied any role in his death, they later sought to pin blame on what they said was a botched rendition operation.

Former US President Donald Trump consistently sought to shield the Saudi leader from repercussions amid widespread bipartisan outcry by blocking the release of the CIA report.

Opinion: Will the US hold Saudi Arabia to account for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?