- The Washington Times - Monday, November 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has delivered his first major speech since the gruesome murder in Turkey last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but made no mention of allegations that his son and heir apparent Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.

The highly anticipated annual policy speech the king delivers to the executive Shura Council generally highlights Saudi Arabia’s priorities for the coming year, including stability in the world oil markets and countering rival Iran.

Monday’s televised address from Riyadh addressed neither the crown prince nor Mr. Khashoggi, who was killed by a 15-man Saudi “hit team” after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 Oct. to obtain a marriage document.

The death of the frequent critic of the Saudi government, who lived in self-imposed exile in Virginia, has caused widespread outrage. Mr. Khashoggi’s body has also never been found.

Amid international outrage, Saudi officials have repeatedly changed their story on what happened, while always insisting the powerful crown prince did not know of or approve the mission. Last week, Saudi prosecutors announced they would pursue the death penalty for five suspects connected to the murder.

In his remarks on Monday, the king mentioned the Saudi judiciary and public prosecutors for “carrying out their duty in the service of justice” without specifically discussing the case.

Marwan Kaballan, director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, told the Arab-language news service Al Jazeera that the king alluded to the prosecutors to show the world “that he is standing by [the crown prince].”

The CIA reportedly has concluded that the crown prince ordered the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, although President Trump has said he is still studying the evidence against one of his administration’s key strategic allies.

Turkey, which has given audiotapes it claims capture the moment of Mr. Khashoggi’s death to Saudi Arabia and to a number of Western nations, also insists the mission was authorized at the highest levels in Riyadh.

In the latest diplomatic fallout from the Oct. 2 murder, German officials on Monday announced they have halted previously approved arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Germany also said a month ago it wouldn’t approve any new weapons exports to Saudi Arabia but left open what would happen with already approved contracts. German immigration officials also banned 18 Saudi nationals from entering the European Union’s free travel zone because they are believed to be connected to the killing of journalist.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Brussels that Germany issued the ban in close coordination with France.

“As before, there are more questions than answers in this case, with the crime itself and who is behind it,” Mr. Maas said.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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