Saudi Arabian officials do not know details of how dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in their consulate in Istanbul or where his body is, Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday.
He told Fox News in an interview that Khashoggi was approached by “Saudi security team” when he entered the consulate and their account of what happened after that differed from that of Turkish officials, which prompted the Saudis to investigate.
“He was killed in the consulate. We don’t know in terms of details how. We don’t know where the body is,” Jubeir said. “We are determined to uncover every stone. … We are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder.”
Jubeir was the first senior Saudi official to speak on the record since the Saudis admitted on Saturday that Khashoggi was dead.
“This was an operation that was a rogue operation. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had,” Jubeir said on Fox.
“They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it,” he said.
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E Adel Al-Jubair: Saudi-US relationship will weather this. I would respectfully urge members of Congress to wait until they have the facts and then judge the results and take positions, but not jump to conclusions. #saudiArabia pic.twitter.com/wDYnxJBDQ6
— CIC Saudi Arabia (@CICSaudi) October 22, 2018
The Saudis have laid out different versions of the circumstances that led to the death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was not seen after entering the consulate on October 2.
The crown prince has denied any involvement.
Late on Sunday, the Saudi Press Agency said both Saudi King Salman and Prince Mohammed had called Khashoggi’s son, Salah, to express condolences.
Jubeir called the killing of Khashoggi a terrible mistake and offered condolences to his family. The journalist has relatives still living in Saudi Arabia and three children who hold US citizenship.
“This is a terrible mistake. This is a terrible tragedy. Our condolences go out to them. We feel their pain,” Jubeir said in the interview. “Unfortunately, a huge and grave mistake was made and I assure them that those responsible will be held accountable for this.”