Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowed on Wednesday that the killers of Jamal Khashoggi would be brought to justice, in his first public comments since the journalist's murder sparked global condemnation.
The Saudi Crown Prince told international investors at the much-maligned Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, that the furor over Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul would not derail the kingdom's reform drive.
His comments came hours after US President Donald Trump told journalists at the Oval Office that the Saudi murder of Khashoggi was the "worst cover-up ever." Furthermore, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the death as a "ferocious premeditated murder." "We are determined not to allow those responsible - those who ordered the crime and those who committed it - to escape justice," he said from his Presidential palace in Ankara.
Bin Salman insisted to guests that, "We will prove to the world that the two governments (Saudi and Turkish) are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit, and at the end justice will prevail."
The controversy behind the Saudi involvement in Khashoggi's demise has put pressure on US investors to back-out of the conference, and indeed led to several Western politicians, top world bankers and company executives boycotting the conference that opened in Riyadh Tuesday.
The official word from the Saudi kingdom behind the chain of events that led to Khashoggi meeting his end, has changed numerous times, with Bin Salman claiming officials at the consul in Istanbul were instructed to persuade Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia, and if he refused, to drug him and take him to a safe house in the city. This contradicted an earlier story from the kingdom, where they bounced between the journalist getting into a fist fight, and of him being "accidentally" killed with a chokehold.