Jamal Khashoggi murder: Trump refuses Congress demand for report

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Saudi Arabia's minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, told reporters in Washington that he wasn't aware of the USA reaching out to Saudi authorities to conduct its own investigation under the Magnitsky Act.

Regarding the Turkish-US discussions on the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria and whether Saudi Arabia will provide military or financial assistance, Jubeir said the Kingdom provided a lot of humanitarian aid and provided $100 million to build hospitals and schools, asserting that military support is not on the table.

The US government has been accused of breaking the law by ignoring a congressional deadline for it to report on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"The President maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate", a senior administration official said in an emailed statement.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey last October.

The kingdom has charged 11 people with the killing, including members of royal entourage, and is seeking the death penalty against five of them.

While it's not clear yet if Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will visit India this month, official sources confirmed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be here on February 19.

The State Department said on Thursday that Washington had already taken action over Khashoggi's killing. "These things happen. Mistakes happen".

The kingdom's chief prosecutor, Saud Al-Mojeb, has said that of 21 people taken into custody in the case, 11 have been indicted and referred to trial.

A top Saudi official on Friday reiterated his government's position that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and he declined to comment specifically on a newspaper report that the crown prince in 2017 said he would use "a bullet" on the journalist.

It has also called for an worldwide inquiry.

Nevertheless, the killing has strained relations between the US and Saudi Arabia.

Al-Jubeir said no U.S. lawmakers refused to meet with him and described the U.S. -Saudi relationship as unchanged, but he bristled at criticism of the country's leadership. "I think for anyone to think that they can dictate what we should do or what our leadership should do is preposterous".

The conversation was intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies, as part of routine efforts by the National Security Agency and other agencies to capture and store the communications of global leaders, including allied ones, The Times said.

The communications were analysed after U.S. intelligence agencies searched through bin Salman's texts and calls, which - according to The Times - is a routine procedure.

He added that "the old saying that "gentlemen don't read other gentlemen's mail" is a principle that I would subscribe to".