White House advisor Jared Kushner, pictured in Saudi capital Riyadh in 2017, said the adminstration of President Donald Trump was in the “fact-finding phase” of the probe into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (MANDEL NGAN)
Washington (AFP) – White House advisor Jared Kushner said Monday he had counseled Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to be “fully transparent” with a probe into the murder of a journalist that has rattled the kingdom’s ties with the West.
Kushner told CNN the administration of US President Donald Trump was still working to establish the facts surrounding Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Asked by CNN’s Van Jones what his advice has been to Prince Mohammed, Kushner replied: “Just to be transparent. To be fully transparent. The world is watching.”
Kushner added that he told the crown prince, who faces accusations that he ordered the killing, “to take this very seriously.”
Asked if he thought the Saudis could be trusted to undertake their own investigation into Khashoggi’s killing, Kushner answered that “as an administration, we’re more in the fact-finding phase.”
“We’re getting as many facts as we can,” Kushner said, “then we’ll determine which facts are credible… and what actions we think we should take.”
The son of King Salman has developed close ties with the Trump White House, and especially with Kushner, since becoming crown prince last year, pressing economic, social and religious reforms in the ultraconservative oil superpower.
But the shake-up has been overshadowed by growing global outrage over Khashoggi’s death, with the kingdom’s explanations seen by friends and foes alike as contradictory and evasive.
Kushner’s remarks came at the start of a day-long political forum in New York with leading public figures including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, two weeks before the midterm congressional elections.
Kushner, who also has an oversight role on US policy in the Middle East but rarely addresses the issue in public, answered questions about a still-secret Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal he has been working on for months.
“I think we’ve made a lot of progress. The president has done a very good job of not allowing the old ways of thinking to constrain his actions,” he said, without going into specifics.
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