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Saudi prince departs on tour amid global outcry over Jamal Khashoggi case

Click to play video: 'Saudi crown prince goes on tour of Arab states amid Khashoggi storm' Saudi crown prince goes on tour of Arab states amid Khashoggi storm
WATCH: Saudi crown prince goes on tour of Arab states amid Khashoggi storm – Nov 22, 2018

CAIRO — Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman left the kingdom on Thursday to visit a number of Arab countries, the Saudi Press Agency reported, his first trip abroad since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi that caused a global outcry.

The prince, the country’s de facto ruler, is also expected to participate in a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires at the end of the month which will be attended by leaders from the United States, Turkey and European countries.

READ MORE: ‘Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!’ — Trump on Saudi prince’s role in Khashoggi murder

The killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince, at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul six weeks ago has strained Saudi Arabia’s ties with the West and battered Prince Mohammed’s image abroad.

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King Salman asked his chosen heir to conduct the tour “based on his keenness to deepen the kingdom’s ties regionally and internationally,” the agency said.

WATCH: Saudi Arabia minister speaks out on Khashoggi murder, stresses government had no hand in death

Click to play video: 'Saudi Arabia minister speaks out on Khashoggi murder, stresses government had no hand in death' Saudi Arabia minister speaks out on Khashoggi murder, stresses government had no hand in death
Saudi Arabia minister speaks out on Khashoggi murder, stresses government had no hand in death – Nov 21, 2018

Al-Arabiya TV said the prince would start his regional trip with a visit to the neighboring United Arab Emirates, a Gulf ally. Tunisian newspaper, Business News, said he is expected to visit Tunisia on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior knowledge of the murder of the prominent Saudi journalist. After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh said last week Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.

READ MORE: Trump thanks Saudi Arabia for low oil prices amid backlash over Khashoggi response

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has said the killing was ordered by the highest level of Saudi leadership but probably not from King Salman, putting the spotlight instead on the 33-year-old crown prince.

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday Washington would remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite saying that Prince Mohammed may have known about the plan to murder Khashoggi.

WATCH: President Trump “hates” killing of Jamal Khashoggi, but calls Saudi Arabia an “important ally” and crucial to U.S. economy

Click to play video: 'Trump ‘hates’ Khashoggi killing, but calls Saudi Arabia ‘important ally’' Trump ‘hates’ Khashoggi killing, but calls Saudi Arabia ‘important ally’
Trump ‘hates’ Khashoggi killing, but calls Saudi Arabia ‘important ally’ – Nov 22, 2018

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