10/17/2018, 10.14
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Khashoggi affair: US president comes to aid of Saudi ally

After timid initial criticism, the United States raises a wall of defense around Riyadh. White House: "hasty" conclusions on presumed guilt. Journalistic sources speak of a commando formed by "close" elements to the hereditary prince Mbs. G7 leaders look for justice. The Director General of the IMF postpones the visit to Riyadh.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United States is raising a wall of defense around Riyadh and the royal house, increasingly suspected of involvement in the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A critical voice of the Wahhabi leadership and, in particular, of the hereditary prince Mohammad bin Salman (Mbs), he has not heard of him since October 2nd when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Some details that have emerged in recent days seem to endorse the Turkish version, according to which a commando came from Saudi Arabia on the day of the disappearance to execute him.

In recent days US President Donald Trump sent his right-hand man and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (expected today in Turkey) to Riyadh, for talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mbs. The White House tenant entertained a lengthy telephone conversation with Saudi leaders, confirming the strategic commercial, diplomatic and military partnership between the two countries.

Commenting on the conversation with the royals, Trump called for calm and not to draw hasty conclusions on (presumed) guilt. "We must first understand - he underlined - what happened". Referring to the story of Supreme Court Judge Kavanaugh, he added that even in this case "its guilty until proven innocent".

According to the evidence gathered by Ankara, thanks also to the audio files sent by the Apple Watch that Khashoggi was wearing when he entered the diplomatic representation (while his cell phone was requisitioned at the entrance), he was killed.

In a second moment the body was dismembered and then made to disappear to conceal the evidence. Turkish experts carried out an inspection within the consulate and elements have emerged that would confirm this version.

Meanwhile, journalistic sources say that there are at least five people involved in the disappearance of Khashoggi, four of whom are connected directly to the Crown Prince. Testimonies re-launched by the New York Times state that one of the identified people would be a frequent companion of Mbs on trips abroad and seen in his company in the past in France, Spain and the United States. Three others would instead be part of or linked to the personal escort of the number two of the Saudi kingdom.

The story of the missing journalist threw more than a shadow on the Saudi summits, pressed by allies, the international community and large economic groups who decided to boycott a major event scheduled in Riyadh. In these hours, the G7 Foreign Ministers issued a joint note saying they were "troubled" by the fate of Khashoggi. "Those who are responsible for the disappearance - they say - will have to give an account of it".

Meanwhile, the director general of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde has decided to cancel the visit to Saudi Arabia next week, to participate in the Future Investment Initiative (FII), the "Davos in the desert" from October 23 to 25. The planned trip, explain IMF sources, "has been postponed". So, in defense of Riyadh, the United States moves, after a first initial pressure, to assure collaboration and trust in a historical and essential (anti-Iranian) ally in the Middle East

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