Saudi Crown Prince Arrives in Tunisia

The Egyptian presidency said the prince is due to arrive in Cairo later on Monday for talks with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

According to Al-Arabiya, they held closed-door bilateral talks.

In the House, Democrats are promising to tackle the Khashoggi matter when they take over the majority next year and are openly questioning whether Trump's defense of the crown prince is motivated by self-interest.

Adam Schiff, now the ranking Democrat on that committee, accused Trump of being "dishonest" about the role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Bahrain was the second stop in Crown Prince Mohammed's Arab tour, which he kicked off Thursday by visiting the United Arab Emirates.

"That was the most glaring of inaccurate and wrong assessments, which led to a full-scale war with thousands being killed", he said, speaking at an event hosted by the Beirut Institute.

He said that he had heard the audio recording of the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Riyadh consulate in Istanbul.

In this October 10, 2018, file photo, people hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington.

Trump has brushed aside assessments by U.S. intelligence and other experts that the crown prince must have been involved in the high-level operation, and said he would maintain close relations with Saudi Arabia in part because of its oil wealth and its multi-billion-dollar purchases of USA arms.

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The G20 conference gets underway in three days time in Buenos Aires, and Argentina is reportedly considering charging Mohammed bin Salman with war crimes.

"While Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of the Crown Prince - in multiple ways - has shown disrespect for the relationship and made him, in my view, beyond toxic", Graham said on Tuesday.

A dozen Tunisian non-governmental organisations issued a joint statement saying the visit is aimed at cleaning up Prince Mohammed's image after the Khashoggi death, and denounced "flagrant violations of human rights and repressive practices against freedom of speech" in Saudi Arabia.

"They were asking us to put as much pressure on the Saudis as we could [to buy American arms]", the official told the news agency.

"We refuse to turn Tunisia into a destination to whitewash war crimes", she said.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday that he also disagreed with Trump's willingness to turn the other cheek on MBS's apparent involvement in the Khashoggi killing.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country's infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

Last week Nourredine Ben Ticha, adviser to Essebsi, said the truth about the killing of the Saudi journalist needed to be established but the incident should not be used to harm the kingdom's stability.

  • Darren Santiago