UN evaluating Khashoggi evidence, calls for cooperation in probe

The United Nations, evaluating information on the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said on Tuesday that it has asked Turkey and Saudi Arabia to cooperate in order “to get to the bottom of what happened”.

The world organization stands by statements made over the weekend including Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for “a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi’s death and full accountability for those responsible,” Farhan Haq, deputy UN spokesman, told a regular briefing, Xinhua reported.

“We are evaluating information as it comes up,” Haq said in response to questions about why the United Nations has not started an official investigation. “If there are any changes, special requests one way or the other, we’ll have to consider them in due course.”

“For a UN investigation to be successful we would need cooperation from the various parties who would be involved and normally we expect to have some form of mandate from a block of member states and we’ll have to see if that can be achieved,” he said. “We’ve already asked for cooperation among the Turkish and Saudi authorities to get to the bottom of what happened to Khashoggi.”

“Ultimately we want to make sure there is agreement on a strong investigation, one way or another,” he said. “Of course if we have a role to play in that we will consider it.”

Asked if the world organization isn’t already at the point of empowering a panel to investigate, considering the information at hand, he said, “We are not at that stage yet. You are hearing different parties talking about a UN role. I am just talking about ways that can be achieved.”

Khashoggi disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. His fiancee waited in vain for him to come out of the building. Saudi authorities first said they didn’t know anything, that he had left their office but later admitted he was killed during a fight following an argument in the consulate.