Trump accuses Saudis of ‘lies’ over critic’s killing in sharpest attack yet

Trump accuses Saudis of 'lies' over Khashoggi killing

On Friday, Saudi state media reported that Khashoggi was dead - and that he was killed in a fight.

He told Fox News in an interview that Khashoggi was approached by a "Saudi security team" when he entered the consulate and their account of what happened after that differed from that of Turkish officials, which prompted the Saudis to investigate. A member of the team dressed in Khashoggi's clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.

"WAN-IFRA calls on the Turkish authorities to urgently provide proof of its claims of Saudi state involvement in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, as well as increased global pressure for a full, verifiable accounting from the Saudi monarchy as to the events leading up to his death", the statement read.

"We have to see if financial motives are influencing the president", he said on ABC.

Reflecting global scepticism over its account, a senior Saudi government official laid out a new version that contradicts previous explanations.

On Sunday, the Saudis claimed the initial plan was to kidnap Khashoggi and try and persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia but to release him unharmed if he refused.

"Why did 15 people come here (from Saudi Arabia) and why were 18 people arrested?"

In September, Germany approved to send Saudi Arabia €416million (£367million) in arms for the year.

"But Saturday, in an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said, "Obviously there's been deception and there's been lies". The journalist has relatives still living in Saudi Arabia and three children who hold USA citizenship.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister sought to contain the fallout on Sunday while telegraphing the kingdom's priority: shielding Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto ruler, from growing speculation that Khashoggi's killing could not have happened without his knowledge or consent. The minister is the first senior Saudi official to speak on the matter.

He said he would "love" it if the Crown Prince was not responsible for the murder.

Merkel reiterated her condemnation of the killing at Saudi's consulate in Istanbul, and her earlier call for the kingdom to provide further clarification on the incident and hold those responsible to account.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the U.S. President Donald Trump have held a phone conversation on slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkey's presidential press office said early Monday.

Turkish officials suspect the body of Mr Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a "local cooperator" for disposal.

This narrative is the latest Saudi account that has changed multiple times. The president has raised the possibility of imposing sanctions but said halting an arms deal would "hurt us more than it would hurt them".

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