Hunt to raise Khashoggi murder during Saudi visit

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Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is visiting Saudi Arabia in the wake of the murder of  journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Hunt is to raise the issue of the dissident’s death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month during the trip.

A Turkish prosecutor said that Mr Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate, as part of a premeditated killing.

The Foreign Secretary will have meetings with King Salman and the country’s controversial crown prince Mohammed bin Salman during the visit.

Ahead of arriving in the Middle East on Monday, Mr Hunt said: “The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago.

“It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear.

“We encourage the Saudi authorities to co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation into his death, so that we deliver justice for his family and the watching world.”

A spokesman said Mr Hunt’s visit, the first by a UK minister since Mr Khashoggi’s murder, would build on talks held this weekend between the permanent under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sir Simon McDonald, and the Saudi King, and the country’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that recordings related to the killing of Mr Khashoggi had been passed on to the UK, US, Saudi Arabia and other powers.

Saudi Arabia had insisted for weeks after Mr Khashoggi disappeared that he had walked out of the consulate, before changing its account to say he died in a brawl.

Saudi officials describe the killing as a rogue operation carried out by Saudi agents who exceeded their authority.

Mr Hunt, who will also visit the UAE, said he wants to use the trip to help end the bloodshed in war-torn Yemen.

Mr Hunt said: “The human cost of war in Yemen is incalculable: with millions displaced, famine and disease rife and years of bloodshed, the only solution is now a political decision to set aside arms and pursue peace.

“Britain has a unique position, both as pen-holder at the UN Security Council and as a key influencer in the region, so today I am travelling to the Gulf to demand that all sides commit to this process.

“We are witnessing a man-made humanitarian catastrophe on our watch: now is the window to make a difference, and to get behind both the UN peace process and current UK efforts in the Security Council.”

Mr Hunt will also hold talks with the Yemeni vice president and foreign minister during the visit.

While in the UAE Mr Hunt will raise the ongoing consular case of Matthew Hedges, the Foreign Office said.

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