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Saudi King Stands by Crown Prince as Outrage Over Khashoggi Killing Spreads

WT24 Desk

BEIRUT, Lebanon — King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Monday stood by his son and crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, avoiding any mention of the international outrage toward the kingdom in his first public remarks since Saudi agents killed the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, The New York Times reports.

The echoes of that killing continued to spread Monday, with Germany imposing sanctions on 18 Saudis suspected of involvement and freezing arms exports to Saudi Arabia. And the Turkish defense minister suggested that Mr. Khashoggi’s killers could have left the country with his body.

Mr. Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has become a lightning rod for Western criticism of Saudi Arabia, its human rights record and the leadership of Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s day-to-day ruler.

A growing chorus of current and former Western officials have concluded that an operation as elaborate as the one to kill Mr. Khashoggi could not have been carried out without the prince’s knowledge. American officials told The New York Times and other publications last week that the C.I.A. had concluded that the prince had ordered the killing.

Saudi officials have vehemently denied that the crown prince had any involvement in the death of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident who wrote columns for The Washington Post that were critical of some Saudi policies. They have portrayed the killing as a result of a rogue operation to return Mr. Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia.

The heightened scrutiny of Prince Mohammed, 33, has caused speculation in some quarters that he could be pushed aside. But in Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy, only his father has the authority to do so, and in Monday’s remarks, he showed no intention to sideline his son.

In his annual address to the Shura Council, the kingdom’s advisory assembly, the 82-year-old monarch stuck to general statements on official Saudi policy, calling on the world to stop Iran’s nuclear program, press for political solutions to the wars in Syria and Yemen, and keep up the fight against terrorism.

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