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Saudi investigation team arrives in Ankara

Manama: A Saudi delegation has arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara as part of the joint team with Turkey to investigate the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The delegations of the two countries are expected to hold a meeting during the weekend, Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Friday.

“Within the framework of a close cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and upon the suggestion of the Kingdom, a joint working team between Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be formed to investigate the case of Jamal in all its aspects,” Turkish presidential aide Ebrahim Kalın was quoted as saying by the agency.

TRT, Turkey’s national public broadcaster, reported on Friday afternoon on its Arabic channel that the meetings would be held in Ankara and would include an agreement on a legal framework for the investigation, and that the team would move to Istanbul most probably on Sunday for the field investigation.

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert welcomed the formation of the joint team, saying that the United States is “content with Turkey-Saudi agreement to form joint working group to investigate Khashoggi case.”

Khashoggi was last seen in public on October 2 as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi officials have insisted he left some time after he walked in.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said the international campaign ostensibly supporting Khashoggi was in fact politically targeting Saudi Arabia. “The real objective is Saudi Arabia, and not looking for any truth,” he tweeted on Friday. “Drop your masks, we support Saudi Arabia with our lives,” he posted on his Twitter account on Friday.

In another tweet, Shaikh Khalid decried the stance of the Qatar-based pan-Arab television station.

“The continuing hostility, abuses and lies by Al Jazeera Television towards Saudi Arabia reflect Qatar’s policy with which we cannot reconcile.”

Several media have been devoting most of their news coverage, reports and analyses to Khashoggi’s case under a clear anti-Saudi editorial line.

On Thursday, UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash pointed to the repercussions of politically targeting Saudi Arabia, saying they would be dire for all those who fuel it.

“The vicious campaign against Riyadh and the coordination between those inciting it is expected. Since there is an urgent need to clarify the humanitarian aspect of the situation, the repercussions for politically targeting Saudi Arabia will be grave for those behind it. The bottom-line is that Saudi Arabia’s success is the best choice for both the region and its citizens,” Gargash posted to his 865,000 followers on Twitter.

In the US, President Donald Trump said the US has investigators in Turkey trying to determine what happened to Khashoggi.

“We’re being very tough. And we have investigators over there and we’re working with Turkey, and frankly we’re working with Saudi Arabia. We want to find out what happened.”

Talking to reporters at the White House, Trump, under pressure by some senators and media to take action against Riyadh, said that Saudi Arabia would redirect its spending to US rivals if he cut off arms sales over Khashoggi’s disappearance.

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