Freeland mum on what comes next now that Canadian officials have heard Khashoggi murder recording
There is little clarity on what will happen next now that Canada’s top spy has heard the recording of journalist Jamal Khashoggi‘s killing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first Western leader to confirm on Monday that his officials had heard the Turkish recording of the killing that took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
But speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was asked about what response should come next and offered few details.
“Canada has been collaborating closely with our G7 and NATO allies, very much including Turkey, the country where this horrific killing took place,” she said, noting that Trudeau had been “glad to ask the head of CSIS to go to Turkey to learn about the situation directly.”
WATCH BELOW: Canada intelligence has heard audio recordings of Khashoggi murder, Trudeau says
“I spoke yesterday with my colleague, Mevlüt [Çavuşoğlu], the Turkish foreign minister, and we discussed ways Canada and Turkey can continue working on this issue going forward,” Freeland added.
What that means is still uncertain, however.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who wrote critically about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and worked for the Washington Post, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 in order to retrieve papers needed for him to marry his Turkish fiancee.
He never came out.
Shortly after, Turkish officials announced they had audio recordings of Khashoggi being murdered from inside the Saudi consulate.
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Accounts of those recordings by the New York Times and the Washington Post described Khashoggi being dismembered and decapitated by a Saudi hit team.
One of those is reported to be Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a security officer for bin Salman.
He is also reported to have placed a call telling an unknown person to “tell your boss” the killing had been completed.
The New York Times quoted American intelligence officials as believing bin Salman was the one referred to as “your boss.”
WATCH BELOW: British foreign minister says Khashoggi murder ‘cannot and will not happen again’
However, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton also told reporters that while he had not heard the recording himself, those who had did not seem to believe it implicated bin Salman himself in the killing.
Bolton is a proponent of the U.S. protecting its alliance with Saudi Arabia in order to constrain the influence of Iran in the Middle East.
And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said it was the “highest levels” of the government in Saudi Arabia that ordered the killing of Khashoggi.
Freeland said that Canada is continuing to press for a “credible and transparent investigation” into the matter but would not comment further on specific actions.
“Canada is very clear that those who are responsible for this atrocious murder must bear full responsibility for that,” she said.
She also stressed Canada is in the midst of reviewing its sale of arms to the kingdom, including a controversial $15-billion armoured vehicle deal inked under the former government but upheld by Trudeau and which is covered in a thick veil of secrecy.
Since Khashoggi’s killing, there have been renewed calls for Canada to cancel the deal which will see more than 700 of the armoured vehicles shipped to Saudi Arabia despite reports they have used similar vehicles to repress dissent among their population.
While that review of the arms sale is ongoing, Canada will not sign new export permits to send arms to Saudi Arabia.
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