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UN Expert Asks World Leaders To Reconsider Saudi Arabia For G20 Summit 2020 Over Jamal Khashoggi's Murder

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Published:

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  • UN expert Callamard said it was crucial to recognise that a state carried out the killing of Khashoggi
  • Meeting Crown Prince Mohammed at the last G20 on Saturday in Osaka, Trump said the 33-year-old leader was doing a 'spectacular job'

UN expert who probed the death of Jamal Khashoggi said that the world powers should reconsider holding the next Group of 20 Summit in Saudi Arabia without accountability over the killing of the Washington Post columnist.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in a report last month found "credible evidence" that linked Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing of Khashoggi, a dissident writer who published in The Washington Post.

On a visit to Washington, Callamard -- who presented her report to the United Nations but does not speak for it -- said that the next Group of 20 Summit, scheduled for November 2020 in Riyadh, offered a chance to put pressure on the Kingdom. 

"Political accountability for Mr. Khashoggi will mean that it doesn't happen or it's moved elsewhere, or something is being done to ensure that the political system in the US and in other countries does not become complicit of that international crime," Callamard said at the Brookings Institution.

READ| US President Donald Trump Is 'extremely Angry' About Jamal Khashoggi, But Says, "nobody Has Directly Pointed Finger At" Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

Callamard said it was crucial to identify that a state carried out the killing of Khashoggi, who was strangled and dismembered shortly after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to handle wedding paperwork.

"So far the Western governments that have adopted individualised targeted sanctions -- which, by the way, are good -- are also selling the 'rogue' theory by so doing," she said, referring to the Saudi contention that out-of-control agents were responsible.

"So it's really important to insist on what we do vis-a-vis the state of Saudi Arabia, not some 15, 17 individuals," she said.

She also called for sanctions to restrict Saudi access to surveillance technology, saying the government has shown it "cannot be trusted" with it.

President Donald Trump's administration has slapped sanctions on individuals but vowed to preserve warm ties with Saudi Arabia due in part to its purchases of US weapons and its hostility to Iran.

Meeting Crown Prince Mohammed at the last G20 on Saturday in Osaka, Trump said the 33-year-old leader was doing a "spectacular job." 

Callamard said she had not "yet" held talks at the White House during her visit to Washington.

Despite the CIA concluding months ago the Crown Prince's direct involvement in the murder of Khashoggi, the UN expert calling for a probe of his alleged role in the killing and the growing number of people questioning US's proximity with Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump remains unperturbed.

Trump conducted a bilateral meet with their ally and 'great friend', Saudi Arabia and heaped praises for the 'reformer' on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. At the meeting, the media questioned the US President about the prominent journalist, to which he brazenly ignored by saying, "Thank you very much," while the Crown Prince sitting opposite Trump had a smirk on his face.

READ| 'Credible Evidence' Linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman To Columnist Jamal Khashoggi's Murder

Trump said that he is 'extremely angry' about the murder, but that nobody had "pointed a finger" at the Kingdom's crown prince.

"I am extremely angry and unhappy" about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi's consulate in Istanbul, Trump said.

But "nobody has directly pointed a finger at the future King of Saudi Arabia", the US president added when asked about whether he raised the issue during a meeting with the royal.

As the two sat down over breakfast on Saturday, Trump even praised his "friend" for taking steps to open up the kingdom and extend freedoms to Saudi women.

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