'Outrageous' and 'totally unacceptable': Saudi foreign minister rejects reports of a potential regime change

Saudi Arabia‘s foreign minister has rejected reports suggesting a change in the kingdom’s line of succession could be required following the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

When asked by CNBC what his message would be to those who say a regime change would be the best way forward for Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir replied: “I say that’s ridiculous. That’s way out of line. The leadership of Saudi Arabia represented in the king and the crown prince is a red line for every Saudi — man or woman.”

“The country is totally supportive of them. Every Saudi feels represented by his leadership, and every Saudi represents his leadership. These are outrageous comments that are being made and are totally unacceptable,” Al-Jubeir told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Wednesday.

Jamal Khashoggi, a writer for The Washington Post, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 during a visit to obtain documents for his wedding.

Saudi Arabia has denied claims that the crown prince had knowledge of the operation, blaming the “unfortunate accident” on the actions of rogue agents.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is unified on this issue, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to its leadership, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to the vision that our leaders have put forth for us in terms of Vision 2030 and in terms of moving along the path of reform,” Jubeir said.

“And we will continue to move in spite of what people may or may not say.”

A day before Al-Jubeir’s interview, President Donald Trump affirmed his support for the kingdom and its leadership despite the international furor over the killing of Khashoggi.

Trump said oil-rich Saudi Arabia was an important political and economic ally, and he appeared to dismiss media reports that the CIA could conclude, in its own report on the death, that the crown prince had ordered Khashoggi’s killing.

“It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event,” Trump said in the statement, though he added: “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t.”

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