Saudi royal says crown prince is here to stay

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NATION & WORLD - BY AYA BA­TRAWY

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB

EMI­RATES — A prom­i­nent Saudi royal said Satur­day that whether or not heads of state gath­ered in Ar­gentina next week for the Group of 20 sum­mit warmly en­gage with Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, he is some­one “that they have to deal with.”

Prince Turki al-Faisal told The As­so­ci­ated Press the killing of Saudi writer Ja­mal Khashoggi in the king­dom’s con­sulate in Istanbul last month is “an un­ac­cept­able in­ci­dent that tars and mars the long record of Saudi Ara­bia’s own stand­ing in the world.”

“We will have to bear that. It’s not some­thing that should not be faced. And we do face it,” he said.

In­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials and an­a­lysts say the op­er­a­tion to kill Khashoggi, who wrote crit­i­cally of the crown prince for The Wash­ing­ton Post, could not have hap­pened with­out Prince Mo­hammed’s knowl­edge. The king­dom, which has of­fered sev­eral con­flict­ing ac­counts of the killing, de­nies the crown prince had any in­volve­ment.

The crown prince em­barked late Thurs­day on his first for­eign tour since the Oct. 2 killing with a visit to the United Arab Emi­rates. He’s ex­pected to visit other Mideast coun­tries be­fore go­ing to Buenos Aires Nov. 30 for the start of the two-day G-20 sum­mit, where he’ll come face to face with world lead­ers.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, who has kept in­ter­na­tional pres­sure mount­ing on the king­dom, are among those ex­pected to at­tend.

“Whether the lead­ers in that sum­mit will warmly en­gage with the crown prince or not, I think all of them rec­og­nize that the king­dom as a coun­try and King Sal­man and the crown prince are peo­ple that they have to deal with,” the prince said.

He said Saudi Ara­bia will con­tinue to play a role on the world stage and that Trump’s state­ment of sup­port for Saudi Ara­bia rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of the king­dom.

[AP PHOTO]

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal talks to The As­so­ci­ated Press, Satur­day in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emi­rates.

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