Geneva - Saudi Arabia told the United Nations on Monday it would prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate, as Western states pressed it for a credible investigation.
Bandar Al Aiban, the head of the Saudi government delegation at the first UN review of the kingdom's record in five years, heard calls from more than 40 nations, including the United States, for a thorough inquiry and a string of rights reforms.
He told the hearing that King Salman had instructed the Saudi public prosecutor to "proceed with the investigation into this case according to the applicable laws" with a view to establishing the facts and "bringing all the perpetrators to justice". "As regards the passing of citizen Khashoggi, our country is committed to carrying out a fair investigation and all persons involved with that crime will be prosecuted in the justice system," Aiban said at the end of the half-day session.
Aiban gave no details on the status or whereabouts of the 18 Saudi nationals detained in connection with the case and repeatedly declined to answer journalists' questions about them, saying: "The case is still under investigation, as you know...I think my statement was very clear."
Khashoggi's sons on Monday demanded the return of the body of the Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi government, who disappeared at the consulate on October 2.