Germany hardening line on Saudi Arabia and Khashoggi

Merkel’s government criticizes Riyadh’s reluctance, says it is ready to take action with its international partners

Germany hardening line on Saudi Arabia and Khashoggi

Germany is still waiting for a transparent and credible investigation from Saudi Arabia into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and is ready to take action in light of new findings, a government spokesman has said. 

The spokesman, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu Agency that Germany was increasingly concerned over the case as many questions remained unanswered almost a month after Khashoggi's disappearance.

“We are now following very closely whether Saudi Arabia is endeavoring to ensure transparency in the clarification of the case and to hold to account those responsible. In light of this development, we are ready to take appropriate action with our international partners,” he said, referring to widespread calls for sanctions against Riyadh. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman last week and called for a rapid, transparent and credible investigation, stressing that all those responsible must be held accountable.

“This appeal to Saudi Arabia remains valid. Saudi Arabia has committed itself to this in several public statements and must now be measured by these statements,” the spokesman said. 

The German government has also praised Turkey’s efforts to unravel the truth since Khashoggi's disappearance.

“The work of the Turkish authorities has played a major role in the investigation of the case to date. The federal government supports all efforts to clarify this case completely,” he stressed. 

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. 

After weeks of denying involvement, the Kingdom admitted last week that Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate but claimed that the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of a plot to murder him.

So far, 18 people, including security officers, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder. 

On Wednesday, Turkish prosecutors announced their preliminary findings, saying Khashoggi was strangled to death in a premeditated killing soon after he entered the Saudi consulate.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said Khashoggi's body had been disposed of after being dismembered.

Saudi authorities have so far claimed that they do not know the whereabouts of his remains.