Saudi royal says crown prince is here to stay
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.
Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal talks to The Associated Press, Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.