Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman smiles as he attends a conference in Riyadh. File picture: Amr Nabil/AP

Washington - US President Donald Trump says the CIA did not conclude that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Nobody has concluded. I don't know if anyone could conclude that the crown prince did it," Trump told reporters in Florida.

"Whether he did or whether he didn't, he denies it vehemently," he added.

Trump's comments contradict earlier US media reports that the US intelligence agency had concluded Mohammed was behind the killing, saying the conclusion was that he "might have done it."

Trump said that the Saudis are an important US ally and praised the business deals between the two countries and the kingdom's participation in the fight against terrorism.

dpa