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Saudi media showed Salah Khashoggi meeting Tuesday with the crown prince, who reportedly expressed his condolences.

MbS and Saudi officials continue to deny that the Crown Prince had any involvement in the killing.

Turkey said it believed a hit squad of Saudi nationals had travelled to Istanbul with the sole goal of killing Khashoggi, a former member of the Saudi elite who became critical of the current government's administration in his country. "Many are trying to take advantage of this painful incident to divide the two [Turkey and Saudi Arabia], but they won't be able to do so".

Saudi Arabia has sought to draw a line under the crisis over Khashoggi's murder, but has come under mounting pressure from sceptical world powers demanding answers and the whereabouts of his body.

After first insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, Saudi authorities have given various accounts before on Thursday acknowledging that evidence from Turkey indicates the killing was premeditated.

But she added: "We should keep in mind there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Saudi Arabia who face travel bans and are held in detention without any justice".

Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic who worked as a Washington Post columnist, was last seen on 2 October, when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve paperwork for his planned marriage.

Trump has also insisted that killing will not interfere with United States arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing a $110bn deal with Riyadh he announced previous year.

Asked by a reporter in the White House how the Khashoggi killing could have happened, Trump said: "They had a very bad original concept". US intelligence officials and lawmakers as well as the European Union have said that an operation targeting a critic of the royal court in a foreign country is unlikely to have been ordered without the knowledge of senior Saudi officials.

Saudi officials did not respond to requests for comment, but Whitson said that they were apparently allowed to leave after a travel ban on Salah was lifted.

For two weeks after his disappearance the Saudis had claimed that Khashoggi left the building alive.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May both spoke via telephone with King Salman, according to a statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry late Thursday, hours after the European Parliament's resolution passed.

"But we have enough right now to determine that the government of Saudi Arabia is responsible and is implicated".

It was not immediately clear how Thursday's announcement from Riyadh would affect Washington's thinking amid bipartisan demands from Congress for severe punishment of Saudi Arabia - the nation at the center of Trump's Middle East policy.


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