Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih on Tuesday admitted that Saudi Arabia was “in crisis” over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Saudi Arabia is going through a crisis,” al-Falih said in statements on the sidelines of a major investment conference in the capital Riyadh.
He described Khashoggi’s killing as “abhorrent and cannot be justified”.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia last week claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.
Saudi King Salman sacked the deputy of the intelligence service and a top aide and ordered the arrest of 18 suspects over the case.
On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister admitted on Sunday that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate but argued that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “not aware" of it.
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir claimed that it was a “rogue operation” by individuals who exceeded their responsibilities and later tried to cover things up.