FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

RIYADH: Speakers at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh did
not shy away from addressing what could otherwise have been the
elephant in the room: The death of Jamal Khashoggi.

Numerous speakers had pulled out of the event over the death of the
Saudi journalist in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “rogue operation” by people acting
beyond the scope of Saudi authorities, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir
said on Sunday.

Many speakers due to attend the FII — mostly those from Western
organizations — had pulled out due to allegations the Saudi government
was complicit in Khashoggi’s death.

But speakers at the FII on Tuesday tackled the issue head-on, calling the death “abhorrent” and promising justice.

“These are difficult days for us in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are
going through a crisis, of sorts, resulting from the very regrettable
and abhorrent incident that took place in Turkey,” Saudi Energy Minister
Khalid Al-Falih told the audience.

“Nobody in the Kingdom can justify it or explain it. From the leadership
on down, we are very upset about what has happened,” he added.

“The king has made it clear that there will be an investigation, justice and retribution to those responsible.”

The prominent Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan also remarked on the
case, saying that the “terrible acts reported in recent weeks are alien
to our culture and DNA.”

Al-Falih said that, despite the ongoing “crisis” due to the case, the
ambitious reforms that Saudi Arabia is undertaking would continue.

“The Kingdom is in the midst of a historic transformation of
unprecedented proportions, and the train has moved, and it has moved
deliberately toward a transformation journey that will not be stopped,”
he said.

“Those partners who are here with us today, to continue their journey
with us are certainly going to look back and find out how the lessons
have been learned from the incident, but at the same time how committed
the Kingdom is to its partners who stay the course.”

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