Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Senegal’s President, Macky Sall, at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh yesterday. Reuters
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promised yesterday that the killers of Jamal Khashoggi would be brought to justice, in his first public comments since the journalist’s murder sparked international condemnation.

Prince Mohammed told a major investment conference in Riyadh that Saudi Arabia and Turkey would work together “to reach results” on a joint investigation into the killing.

“The incident that happened is very painful, for all Saudis... The incident is not justifiable,” the crown prince said on a discussion panel. “Justice in the end will appear.”

He described co-operation between Riyadh and Ankara as “special”, despite fierce criticism from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his aides.

Hours earlier US President Donald Trump, in his toughest comments yet, told the Wall Street Journal that the crown prince bore ultimate responsibility for the operation that led to the Saudi journalist’s killing.

Trump said he wanted to believe Prince Mohammed when he said that lower-level officials were to blame for the October 2 killing at the Saudi mission.

But he suggested responsibility lay higher up: “Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be (sic), it would be him.”

His comments heaped pressure on his close ally amid a global outcry over the journalist’s death, and came just hours before Prince Mohammed’s appearance at the Saudi investment conference.

A number of high-profile business and political figures pulled out of the conference over the death of the journalist, a prominent critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.

Erdogan spoke to Prince Mohammed yesterday and the two discussed the steps that were needed to bring to light all aspects of Khashoggi’s death, a presidential source said. An adviser to Turkey’s president said Prince Mohammed had “blood on his hands” over Khashoggi, the bluntest language yet from someone linked to Erdogan.

Saudi authorities did not im- mediately respond to a request for comment about the remarks made by Trump and the Erdogan adviser, but Prince Mohammed himself painted a different picture of relations with Turkey.

“There are now those who are trying to take advantage of the painful situation to create divisions between the kingdom and Turkey,” he said.

“I want to send them a message that they cannot do this as long as King Salman is here, and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in Saudi Arabia and the head of Turkey, whose name is Erdogan ... this division won’t happen.” Reuters