Saudi crown prince leaves on first foreign tour since Khashoggi murder
RIYADH, Nov 22, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman left Thursday on a visit to “brotherly Arab countries”, state media reported, his first official trip abroad since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Prince Mohammed will visit a “number of” Arab states at the request of his father, King Salman, the royal court said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television reported that Prince Mohammed will make his first stop in close ally the United Arab Emirates.
Riyadh has come under increased international pressure after the killing of Washington Post contributor Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate on October 2.
The Saudi journalist, a former court insider turned critic of Prince Mohammed, was killed and dismembered in what the kingdom said was a “rogue” operation.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could meet with the crown prince on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina next week, according to Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.
Erdogan has said the order to murder Khashoggi came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government but has stopped short of directly blaming Prince Mohammed.
Saudi authorities are seeking the death penalty against five men over the killing, but attention remains focused on the crown prince despite an official insistence that he was not involved.