Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the kingdom has been unable to find Jamal Khashoggi’s remains, despite his claims that those responsible for the journalist’s death are in custody.
Adel al-Jubeir said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Khashoggi’s death was the result of “officials of the Saudi government acting outside their scope of authority.” He called the killing of the Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident a “massive tragedy” and a “mistake.”
“We will hold those responsible accountable, and we will punish them,” he said. “The crown prince had nothing to do with this. There was no order given to murder Jamal Khashoggi and the whole country is shocked by this.”
Al-Jubeir said he does not know where Khashoggi’s remains are, initially blaming Turkey.
“You’re blaming the Turkish government?” anchor Margaret Brennan asked.
“No, I’m blaming the murderers who committed this crime,” al-Jubeir responded.
Asked if the alleged perpetrators who are in custody could not say where the body is, al-Jubeir said “the investigation is ongoing, and I would expect that eventually we will find the truth.”
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs @AdelAljubeir says he doesn’t yet know where Jamal Khashoggi’s body is: “We are still investigating…I would expect that eventually we will find the truth” pic.twitter.com/J1MhBliu2J
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 10, 2019
He reiterated the Saudi position that Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman was not involved in Khashoggi’s death, and declined to comment on a recent New York Times story that said the young leader once told a top aide he would use “a bullet” on Khashoggi.
“Nobody in Saudi Arabia knew about the murder except the people who did it,” al-Jubeir said.
The crown prince has faced sharp scrutiny in recent months following Khashoggi’s death. The journalist, a critic of Saudi leadership, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October. His remains have not been found since.
The Saudi government initially denied knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, and changed its story multiple times before announcing charges against more than a dozen people in the incident.
U.S. and international intelligence officials have indicated that the crown prince likely played a role in Khashoggi’s death.
The Trump administration on Friday missed a deadline to provide Congress with a report on who was responsible for Khashoggi’s death. The administration has drawn criticism for not taking stronger action against Saudi Arabia in the wake of the journalists’ death.