Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: UN chief demands 'truth'


13th October, 2018 02:32:30 printer

Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: UN chief demands 'truth'


The head of the United Nations has demanded "the truth" over the disappearance of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the BBC he feared such disappearances would happen more regularly and become a "new normal".


Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, vanished on 2 October after visiting its consulate in Istanbul.


Saudi Arabia says accusations it ordered his killing there are "lies".



A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials had audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi, who writes for the Washington Post, was murdered inside the consulate.


What did Mr Guterres say?


He told me at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Bali: "We need to have a strong request for the truth to be clear.


"We need to know exactly what has happened and we need to know exactly who is responsible and, of course, when we see the multiplication of this kind of situation I think we need to find ways in which accountability is also demanded."


He said he believed the legal system should be able to guarantee accountability, but added: "I must say I am feeling worried [at] this apparent new normal.


"Because this kind of incident is multiplying and it's absolutely essential to make sure that the international community says clearly that this is not something that can happen."


Saudi Arabia is hosting a key investment conference in Riyadh this month.


Mr Guterres said that once there was a "clear answer" about what had happened, governments should respond "in the appropriate way" about whether to attend.


US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Washington was "looking for information" and wanted to understand the "realities" of what had happened.


Jim Kim, the head of the World Bank, has already withdrawn from the event, while Sir Richard Branson, the head of Virgin, has said he is suspending his role as director of two tourism projects.


On Saturday, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said she was "horrified" by reports coming out of Turkey but would still attend the Saudi conference.


US President Donald Trump, who has sought to build good relations with Saudi Arabia, has pledged to uncover the truth.


What happens now with the investigation?


Turkey's official line is that Mr Khashoggi is missing but that it knows "for sure" he has been killed.


However, the government has agreed to a joint investigation with the Saudis, and a Saudi delegation arrived in Turkey on Friday to take part in talks expected over the weekend.


Their arrival came a day after a senior Saudi royal figure, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, was said to have briefly visited Turkey amid signs that the Saudi monarchy was seeking an urgent solution to the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.