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Saudi Arabia ‘completely rejects’ US assessment on Khashoggi murder

After declassified report says crown prince approved killing of journalist, Riyadh calls it ‘negative, false and unacceptable’

People hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the United States about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
People hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in the United States about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington, October 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia on Friday said it “completely rejects” a declassified US report that found that de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s 2018 murder.

“The government of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

In the partially redacted report released Friday by President Joe Biden’s administration, US intelligence concluded that the prince “approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill” Khashoggi.”

Saudi Arabia has previously said the murder was a rogue operation and has vehemently denied the crown prince was involved.

“It is truly unfortunate that this report, with its unjustified and inaccurate conclusions, is issued while the kingdom had clearly denounced this heinous crime, and the kingdom’s leadership took the necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy never takes place again,” the foreign ministry said.

“The kingdom rejects any measure that infringes upon its leadership, sovereignty, and the independence of its judicial system,” the ministry added.

Khashoggi, a staunch critic of Prince Mohammed, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 and murdered by a Saudi squad.

The US report said that given Prince Mohammed’s influence, it was “highly unlikely” that the murder could have taken place without his green light.

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