19:59 GMT24 October 2020
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    French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday reportedly insisted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman include international experts in the investigation of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, noting that the crown prince never heeds his words.

    The comments were made in a private conversation between two leaders during the ongoing G20 summit Friday, Reuters reported.

    “You never listen to me,” Macron is heard saying in English in footage posted by the Saudi Gazette newspaper. “No I will listen of course,” bin Salman said in English, then bursting into a laugh. Macron continued the conversation, saying he is “a man of my word.”

    In the audio, it is also possible to hear bin Salman saying “Don’t worry” to Macron, to which French president responds, “I am worried.” The conversation reportedly covered both Khashoggi’s murder and the Saudi-led war in Yemen. According to Reuters, this was the first conversation between Macron and the crown prince since Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

    G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires
    © REUTERS / Reuters TV Summit Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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    An official from Macron’s office said the meeting with bin Salman was necessary, as European nations wished to send a united message about the need for honesty in the investigation and were not going to sidestep an opportunity to reinforce that message during the G20 summit. 

    “We were not going to play hide and seek for 48 hours; it wouldn’t make any sense,” the official said. “If we’re here, and [bin Salman is] at the table, let’s be frank and not indulgent. Things that need saying will be said.”

    The official also added that the video provided “a sort of contrast between [bin Salman’s] face sporting an embarrassed smile and the [French] president’s face, which was rather stern, and was keen to convey these messages in a very firm manner.”

    Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, disappeared inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi authorities eventually admitted Khashoggi had been murdered. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said Khashoggi had been killed by people who criminally overstepped their authority.


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