German Foreign Minister reconsiders trip to Saudi-Arabia

Today, in relation to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at a press conferece inside the State Department:

„Related to Saudi-Arabia, this incident is and stays worrying.

The accusations which came up are alarming and disturbing, I have to admit.

I told my counterpart in Saudi-Arabia very clear our expectations that this case has to be clarified completely.

Those that are responsible must be held accountable.

Therefore, we declared a statement at the last weekend during the G 3 meeting with France and UK.

Yesterday we also released a joint communique as G7 regarding this question. We made clear how worried we are.

We will follow very closely the results of the of the Turkish and Saudi joint investigation team.

We want to know what was happening.

As soon as we will know what was happening, we will execute the necessary consequences.

We will not accept that journalists become more and more into danger around the whole world because of their work. And this applies for Saudi-Arabia as well.

And regarding my travel plans to Saudi-Arabia: We had indeed planned a trip to Saudi Arabia in the context of the dialogue with Saudi Arabia.

We will wait on that now. The Saudi side plans a statement (on the affair), and we will use that as a basis for deciding whether a trip makes sense or not at the current time.“

Merkel soll im Bundestag über Khashoggi sprechen

Morgen wird Angela Merkel im Bundestag ihre Regierungserklärung abgeben. Ich erwarte von der Kanzlerin, daß sie morgen zum Mord an Jamal Khashoggi Stellung bezieht. Khashoggis Ermordung verlangt nach einer scharfen Reaktion der Bundesregierung.

Dieses unfassbare Verbrechen an Jamal Khashoggi ist nicht nur ein Mord, sondern ein Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit und gegen die Pressefreiheit.

Daher erwarte ich, daß Angela Merkel eine klare Haltung zum Fall Khashoggi einnimmt und Gerechtigkeit für Jamal Khashoggi einfordert.

Die Verantwortlichen für diese grausame Tat müssen zur Verantwortung gezogen werden.

Ich erwarte auch, daß sich der Bundestag morgen über die Rolle von Saudi-Arabien bei diesem Mordfall ausspricht. Die Abgeordneten sollten morgen über einen Abbruch der diplomatischen Beziehungen zu Saudi-Arabien und über einen sofortigen Stopp aller Waffenlieferungen nach Saudi-Arabien abstimmen.

Wenn Deutschland ab sofort keine Waffen mehr nach Saudi-Arabien liefern würde, könnte dies auch den Opfern des Krieges im Jemen zu Gute kommen.

Während der Aussprache müsste daher auch die Rolle von Saudi-Arabien beim Krieg im Jemen beleuchtet werden.

Merkel must demand accountability for Saudi Arabia’s behavior

This morning, Turkish and Saudi teams that were investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a nine-hour search of the building.

CNN says that Saudi Arabia was preparing a report that would acknowledge Mr
Khashoggi was killed „as the result of an interrogation that went wrong“. The Saudi government did not yet comment.

If Mr Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate, it would be a homicide and a crime against humanity as well as against the freedom of the press.

Defending the freedom of expression and a free press and ensuring the protection of journalists must be key priorities for Germany. These human rights were presumably violated by Saudi-Arabia.

Therefore, I ask Angela Merkel for demanding accountability for Saudi Arabia’s behavior. Chancellor Merkel must act now on behalf of the German people who cannot accept the commitment of such a crime.

An international investigation of the supposed crime must be ongoing. There are many questions to investigate:

  • Why one might need a tactical team of 15 Saudis, flown into Turkey and armed with saws, to conduct an interrogation? This might sound much more like a premeditated murder.
  • How could on 1) interrogate, 2) torture, 3) kill and 4) dismember a person in less than two hours if one didn’t intend to do it?
  • According to media reports, the alleged perpetrators arrived in a private jet and commercial planes, stayed in two different hotels, travelled in seven cars and left the country the same day. Doesn’t it seem to be well organized in advance?

Today, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will have dinner with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after meeting with King Salman in Riyadh, according to reporters traveling with him, to discuss the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi.

The riyal sunk to a two-year low of 3.7526 against the U.S. dollar. The supposed killing of Mr Khashoggi on 2 October 2018 could hurt foreign investment in Saudi Arabia and sanctions my be imposed as long as Saudi Arabia does not hold accountability for its behavior.

Actor Gerard Butler said he canceled an upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia because it felt like an “incredibly insensitive” time to visit.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Mr Butler said once his team was informed of what was happening, “it just didn’t feel like a good time to be getting involved. It just didn’t seem like a situation that we would want to get into and as that situation hasn’t concluded, and there are no definite answers, and it’s not for me to be coming up with solutions.“