Saudi Arabia: King Salman Promises Justice but Does Not Take Jamal Khashoggi's Name at Annual Shura
Saudi Arabia's monarch King Salman (F) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (B) | (Photo: SUSTG)

In his annual address to Saudi Arabia’s shura council in Riyadh, King Salman promised “justice” but did not take murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s name.

The annual speech which was highly anticipated as the world has trained its eyes on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the 82-year-old Saudi monarch praised his country's judiciary and public prosecution for "carrying out their duty in the service of justice."

"The kingdom was founded on Islamic principles of justice and equality, and we are proud of the efforts of the judiciary and the public prosecution," the Saudi monarch said in Monday's address to the Shura Council. "We ensure that this country will never deviate from implementing God's law and... serving justice," he added. But he did not directly refer to the case in which his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has been implicated by Turkey and US’s CIA.

The CIA has reportedly concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was the one who ordered the Washington Post columnist’s killing, but US President Donald Trump is yet to endorse that assessment.

However, Riyadh has till date maintained that Khashoggi was killed as the result of a rogue operation led by an intelligence officer.

Elsewhere in the short speech, King Salman said he has directed his son MBS to "focus on developing human capabilities and preparing the new generation for future jobs".

It seems as if King Salman is closing ranks to protect his son but not everyone is ready to forget that a journalist was brutally murdered in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul. His only crime was writing criticisms of the political scenario in Saudi Arabia. Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced that Berlin has banned 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe's border-free Schengen zone because of their alleged connection to Khashoggi's killing.

Maas told reporters in Brussels on Monday that Germany issued the ban for the 26-nation zone in close coordination with France, which is part of the Schengen area, and Britain, which is not.

Germany’s action comes days after US imposed sanctions on 18 Saudi nationals for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. But, there are many in US Congress who want much stronger action, "… We need to punish who ordered this. Who's in charge and really the only thing they understand over there is strength," said Republican Senator Rand Paul.

Senator Lindsey Graham who is known to have the ear of President Donald Trump used much stronger words, “I am going to do whatever I can to place blame where I believe it lies: I am going to put it at the feet of the crown prince who has been a destructive force in the Mideast [Middle East].

"If he is going to be the face of Saudi Arabia going forward, I think the kingdom will have a hard time on the world stage."