Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has broken silence on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, describing his murder as “painful, horrible and unjustified”.
Prince Mohammed said Saudia Arabia was actively working to “bring all the criminals to justice”.
“Saudi Arabia is taking all legal measures … and working with the Turkish government to reach results”, the 33-year-old Saudi heir said in an address he gave at the Future Investment Initiative which several countries including Australia, the US and UK opted to boycott.
“Justice will prevail,” he said.
Earlier, Prince Mohammed denounced the killing of Mr Khashoggi in a a reported telephone conversation with Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan about “joint efforts” to shed light on the killing.
It marked the first contact between the Turkish and Saudi leaders since the start of the case.
During their discussion, Prince Mohammed labelled the murder of the Washington Post columnist unjustified “heinous crime” that would not “drive a wedge” between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Washington Post columnist Mr Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Crown Prince, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
The Saudi foreign minister eventually admitted Mr Khashoggi was murdered in a “rogue operation”, after previously denying having any knowledge of what had happened to the 59-year-old journalist.
“The crime was really painful to all Saudis. I believe it is painful for every human in the world,” Prince Mohammed said.
“It is a heinous crime that cannot be justified.”
He continued: “We know that many are trying to use this painful thing to create a kind of wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
“I want to send them a message: They will not be able to do that as long as there is king called King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and a crown prince called Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.”
The Saudi leadership remains under immense international pressure over the murder of Mr Khashoggi, with strong reactions from the EU and Australia on Wednesday.
Australia could follow Germany’s lead and suspend new arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the crime, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said in Canberra.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his country would not be stopping weapons exports to Saudi Arabia after the violent death of Khashoggi, and France said it would apply sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the kingdom was clearly found responsible for the killing.
Iranian President Hassan Rowhani called on the United States and the European Union not to back down from putting pressure on Saudi Arabia – an arch-enemy of Iran.