Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was sidelined during the official “family photo” of world leaders and other dignitaries at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Friday, standing at the far edge of the group portrait and ignored.
Prince Mohammed’s presence at the international summit has been contentious following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.
The crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, quickly exited the stage without shaking hands or talking with other leaders.
U.S. President Donald Trump chatted with the leaders of Canada, Japan and France during the photo session but walked by — without appearing to acknowledge — Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump cancelled a formal sit-down with Putin at the summit over Moscow’s seizure of Ukrainian vessels.
At centre stage was Argentine President Mauricio Macri, hosting this year’s summit of G20 industrialized nations.
Macri has said accusations that Prince Mohammed was involved in Khashoggi’s death could be discussed by world leaders during the two-day summit. Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior knowledge of the murder.
WATCH: Vladimir Putin, Mohammad bin Salman warmly greet one another at G20
Putin and Prince Mohammed later exchanged a high-five and a handshake and laughed heartily as they took seats next to each other in the main meeting room.
Macron talks with Saudi prince over Khashoggi investigation
Although the crown prince was ignored by some, French President Emmanuel Macron had a short exchange on the sidelines with Mohammed bin Salman. Macron said that Europe would insist on international experts being part of the investigation into the murder of Khashoggi.
Macron conveyed “very firm” messages to the prince over the killing and the need to find a political solution for the situation in Yemen.
The Saudi Gazette newspaper posted video of the meeting online showing the two speaking in hushed tones with their heads close together, Macron looking the crown prince in the eye and Prince Mohammed nodding his head and at times smiling.
In the audio, it is possible to make out the prince saying “Don’t worry”, to which Macron responds “I am worried”. Later in the one-minute clip Macron says: “You never listen to me” and the crown prince replies: “I will listen, of course.”
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At the end Macron can be heard saying: “I am a man of my word.”
Khashoggi, an opinion writer for the Washington Post who was at one time a Saudi royal insider before becoming a critic of the leadership, was killed by lethal injection and dismembered by a group of Saudi men sent from the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor has said MbS knew nothing of the operation to kill Khashoggi.
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