Italy awaiting ‘credible’ account of Khashoggi’s fate

Rome: The Italian government expects credible explanations of the events surrounding dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder at his country’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, Premier Giuseppe Conte has said.

“Italy is waiting for credible answers as the case is very worrying,” Conte told journalists at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on Monday.

“Italy is not insensitive. The facts of the matter are very serious but we want to have knowledge of all the facts before we speak to our partners – by which I mean Europe but also (US president Donald) Trump,” he said.

Conte’s remarks came after the UK, France and Germany in a joint statement released on Sunday urged “clarification” of what happened to Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate, backed by “credible” facts.

“There remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened on October 2 – beyond the hypotheses that have been raised so far in the Saudi investigation, which need to be backed by facts to be considered credible,” said the statement.

Saudi Arabia has blamed the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on a “rogue operation” and that he died in a ‘fist-fight’ at the consulate – giving a new account of an act that sparked a global outcry.

Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was murdered by a team of Saudi agents inside the building and say they have evidence to prove it.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said details of the Washington Post columnist”s killing “will be revealed in all its nakedness” in parliament on Tuesday.

Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate on 2 October to pick up documents he needed for his planned marriage to his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who has now been given 24-hour police protection, Turkish media said on Sunday.