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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Saudi Attorney General: Turkish evidence points to Khashoggi murder being premeditated 

New details will be taken into consideration as investigation ongoing

Turkish forensic arrive at an underground car park cordoned off by Turkish police after they found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate, on October 23, 2018 in Istanbul. / AFP / Yasin AKGUL
Turkish forensic arrive at an underground car park cordoned off by Turkish police after they found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate, on October 23, 2018 in Istanbul. / AFP / Yasin AKGUL

Speaking at the ongoing Saudi investment conference in Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said the country would look to emulate the "great strides" taken to reform its economy by applying it to the national security sector.

"I think that time has come to restructure the sectors of the national security in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in line with the economic sectors' growth in the kingdom," he said in his address to the Future Investment Initiative.

His commentsfolloed an announcement by the kingdom's attorney general that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi authorities was premeditated.

Addressing the conference on live television, the crown prince called the murder “a heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

The disappearance of the dissident writer and subsequent admission by Saudi authorities that he was killed inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate has overshadowed the conference, billed as the "Davos of the Desert", which aims to portray Saudi as a modern economy and attractive business destination.

Saudi authorities have scrambled to formulate a convincing explanation for and response to the murder of Khashoggi.

In a statement on Thursday, the Saudi foreign ministry said the kingdom had accepted information from "brotherly" Turkey that the killing was planned in advance and would take this into account during its ongoing investigation.

Earlier this week, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, ordered the establishment of a ministerial committee, chaired by his son, the crown prince, to restructure the leadership of the intelligence services and reform its practices.

So far, three high-ranking officials have been dismissed from their roles in the court following a preliminary investigation into the murder, which Saudi Arabia authorities claim was carried out in a "rogue operation".

The Saudi Press Agency did not specify whether the dismissals were associated with the investigation.

Among those sacked in the royal orders were two officials in the General Intelligence unit and Saud Al Qahtani, who served as an adviser at the Royal Court and was identified by Turkish intelligence as an architect in the murder of Khashoggi.

The royal order also dismissed a number of high-ranking officers working in the Saudi General Intelligence Unit.

On Tuesday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to allow an independent investigation into the murder. He asked Saudi to allow the extradition of the suspects to face trial in Turkey.

On Wednesday , Prince Mohammed said he would not allow the murder to drive a wedge between his country and Turkey.