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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promised on Wednesday that the killers of Jamal Khashoggi would be brought to justice, in his first public comments since the journalist's murder sparked worldwide condemnation and suspicions about his role in the killing.

On Tuesday, Trump called the shifting stories over Khashoggi's fate - the crown prince initially said the journalist left the consulate on this own - "one of the worst in the history of cover-ups".

Khashoggi's eldest son, Salah, has flown out of Saudi Arabia, two sources close to the family said on Thursday. Al Qahtani offered to give Khashoggi a prominent job.

Calling attacks on journalists "unacceptable", Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomas Petricek said he had made Prague's position on the gruesome death clear to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador when the two met to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

However, French reaction has been relatively guarded, as Paris tries to retain its influence with Riyadh and protect commercial relations spanning energy, finance and arms sales.

France has said it will consider sanctions against Saudi Arabia if its intelligence services find Riyadh was behind Khashoggi's death. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Haspel listened to audio purportedly of his interrogation and murder while she was in Turkey. Spokespersons for the CIA and Turkish intelligence declined to comment on Haspel's review of the recording.

Britain, like the United States a major weapons supplier to the kingdom, has described Riyadh's explanations for the killing as lacking credibility.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday that the United Kingdom is also taking action against Saudi suspects.

Trump administration officials and the President himself have couched their growing criticism of Saudi Arabia with caveats about the kingdom's importance as a strategic partner.

"They (Saudis) do such a crime with a reliance on a superpower which supports them and does not let the global courts decide on any measures against them", he added.

Trump said he wanted to believe Prince Mohammed when he said that lower-level officials were to blame for the October 2 killing at the Saudi mission.

The development came shortly after Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan accused Saudi Arabia of plotting Khashoggi's murder.

But in the bluntest sign yet of strained ties, one of Erdogan's advisers wrote in a Turkish newspaper that Prince Mohammed had "blood on his hands". "And it is painful, heinous to every human being in the world", Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in his first comments since the murder of the journalist. But the US president suggested responsibility lay higher up. "He's running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him", Trump said.

Khashoggi's killing was the first issue the crown prince raised after he strode on to the stage at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh. The event was attended by hundreds of bankers and company executives.

Hariri, sitting beside the crown prince, even took part in the humour as the audience laughed. He joked about Hariri's detention in the kingdom a year ago, saying the Lebanese prime minister was free to leave after attending the conference.

Saudi Arabia's ability to sell more oil will be especially crucial when USA sanctions against Iranian oil sales come into effect on November 4, taking an estimated 1 million barrels of oil a day off the market.

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