Turkey seeks arrest of Saudi officials over Khashoggi

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Graham also said he would offer a sense of the Senate measure that names the crown prince as responsible for the murder of Khashoggi and that he would not support further arm sales to the kingdom until all individuals complicit in the murder "have been brought to justice".

Introduced by a top ally of President Donald Trump, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Saudi officials Ahmed Asiri and Saud al Qahtani are wanted in relation to the October 2 killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi authorities initially said Khashoggi, who had written articles critical of the crown prince's policies, had disappeared after safely leaving the consulate.

The White House denied having a hand in Ms Haspel's conspicuous absence, and the Central Intelligence Agency said no one had told Haspel not to attend. "There are all sorts of things we can do to make clear this can't continue to happen".

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The murder has damaged Riyadh's global reputation and Western countries including the US, France and Canada have placed sanctions on almost 20 Saudi nationals. "By extraditing all suspects to Turkey, where Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered, the Saudi authorities could address those concerns", the Turkish official said.

Following a closed-door briefing between CIA Director Gina Haspel and senators on Tuesday, the Republican from SC stood firmly in opposition to Trump's continued support of the Saudi leader. He said you'd have to be "willfully blind" to ignore the evidence and that there is "zero chance" that MBS is innocent in the matter.

Last week, Pompeo claimed there was no definitive evidence that MbS was behind Khashoggi's murder, while Mattis simply said there was "no smoking gun".

The move by the USA senators came as Istanbul's chief prosecutor filed warrants for the arrest of a top aide to MBS and the deputy head of the kingdom's foreign intelligence on suspicion of planning the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince. Blunt did attend a briefing on Khashoggi's death last month led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis. "We have to figure out a way to condemn the butchery and the murder in the strongest possible terms without blowing up the Middle East", Kennedy said.

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Riyadh has since detained 21 people over the murder, seeking death penalties against five of them, but has strongly denied the crown prince was involved. In recent months, Mattis - a former Marine four-star popular with lawmakers - has defended other politically controversial moves by the Trump administration, like troop deployments to the USA border and plans to reorganize the military for a Space Force.

Another senator, Bob Corker, told reporters, using the crown prince's initials: "I have zero question on my mind that the crown prince MBS ordered the killing". Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told CNN that Haspel should not come back and brief the whole Senate as senators on both sides have demanded.

Graham has said the resolution would be followed by an effort to impose sanctions.

Senators, however, were divided as to what steps to take next, following a stinging vote last week to consider a measure cutting off USA military aid to Saudi Arabia's campaign.

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