Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has addressed the kingdom’s Shura Council but refrained from mentioning the case of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In a highly anticipated address to the council, the 82-year-old monarch on Monday lauded his country’s judiciary and public prosecution for “carrying out their duty in the service of justice”, without directly invoking the killing of the Washington Post columnist.
Khashoggi – a critic of the powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS – was killed in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Last week, Saudi prosecutors announced they would push for the death penalty for five suspects in connection with the murder of Khashoggi.
The king’s speech came as members of the US Congress renewed their calls to condemn the kingdom following a reported assessment by the CIA that MBS personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder.
‘Standing by his son’
Elsewhere in the short speech, the king reiterated his support for the United Nations’ efforts to end the war in Yemen, where his country has been leading a massive air campaign against Houthi rebels – and said that the Palestinian issue was a “top priority for the kingdom”.
King Salman said that Riyadh supported a political solution in Syria, ensuring the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, and called on the international community to halt Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.