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Germany may suspend arms deals to punish Saudi Arabia as Trump refuses

22 October 2018

Five Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul are giving statements as witnesses under an investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish broadcaster NTV said on Monday.

He said the Saudis did not know how Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi national and USA resident, had been killed or where his body was.

An image made from surveillance camera footage shows a man identified by Turkish officials as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb walking toward the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul before writer Jamal Khashoggi disappeared on October 2, 2018.

A senior Turkish official quoted by CNN said that the Saudi was "brought to Istanbul to act as a body double" for Khashoggi, adding: "This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate".

After an uproar globally, Saudi Arabia admitted on Saturday what it vigorously denied for two weeks - Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

Turkey earlier said 15 Saudis who travelled to Istanbul were involved in Khashoggi's disappearance. "There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up".

President Donald Trump had also talked about possible punishment but said he didn't want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia because it would harm us manufacturers. Against these must be weighed the crown prince's right-minded hostility to Iranian imperialism; his openness to an alliance with Israel; his realization that Saudi society's oppression of women is crippling it; and his oft-stated intention to end Saudi subsidization of Wahhabi radicalism around the globe.

Saudi Arabia's Attorney General confirmed that preliminary investigations indicated that the journalist died inside the Saudi consulate after a fight within the premises.

Madani's role as an alleged Khashoggi body double is the latest in the evolving investigation into the killing.

Seeking to shield the crown prince, who is effectively in charge of running Saudi Arabia, from the global outrage sparked by Khashoggi's disappearance and death, al-Jubeir called the killing a "huge and grave mistake" and said those involved in the consulate tried to cover it up.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she backs a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi. The newspaper said the four calls went to Bader al-Asaker, the head of Prince Mohammed's office.

Abdullah Alaoudh, a Saudi scholar at Georgetown, said he was subjected to a similar "plot" in Washington.

Jubeir had extended condolences to Khashoggi's family earlier on Sunday.

On Sunday, a joint release by Paris, Berlin and London said instead that the journalist's death needs "to be backed by facts considered to be credible".

Maas, the German foreign minister, said on Saturday that there was "no basis" for further exports of weapons to Saudi Arabia and said there were "several contradictions" in Saudi Arabia's official explanation of the death. We don't know in terms of details how.

On whether the world can avoid oil prices hitting $100 per barrel again, Mr Falih said: "I cannot give you a guarantee, because I cannot predict what will happen to other suppliers".

Trump said: "We'd like to find out where it is and what happened".

Germany may suspend arms deals to punish Saudi Arabia as Trump refuses