A view of Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Turkey will “never allow a cover-up” of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, a senior official in Turkey’s ruling party said Saturday after Saudi Arabia announced hours earlier that the writer died during a “fistfight” in its consulate. | Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

Khashoggi: Saudi FM regrets ‘rogue’ murder – Durbin says expel Saudi ambassador

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi earlier this month at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a “rogue operation” and an “aberration.”

Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News on Sunday that those responsible will be held accountable for “this huge and grave mistake.”

He extended his condolences to the family of the slain journalist.

“We can feel their pain and we wish this didn’t happen and I wish that this could have been avoided,” he said.

Also on Sunday, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called for the expulsion of the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khalid bin Salman, son of King Salman of Saudi Arabia and the younger brother of the Crown Prince, until a credible third-party probe is completed.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Durbin said, “The only person on Earth outside of the Saudi kingdom who appears to accept the Saudi ‘investigation’ is President Donald Trump. We ought to formally expel the Saudi Ambassador to the United States until there is a completion of a third party investigation into the kidnap and murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And we should call on our allies to do the same.

“Unless the Saudi kingdom understands that civilized countries around the world are going to reject this conduct and make sure that they pay a price for it, they are going to continue to do it.

“If we want them to stop this and make clear that we don’t accept it, we need to be decisive – expel the Ambassador, stop our assistance to their war in Yemen, let them know they are going to pay a price.”

Saudi Arabia finally admitted Friday that its agents killed Khashoggi after he entered the consulate on Oct. 2, but is denying that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or King Salman were involved.

Al-Jubeir echoed President Donald Trump’s warnings against rushing to judgment against Saudi leaders, saying, “There is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” and that some have “turned that upside down.” He adds Saudi officials do not know the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains.

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers are accusing the crown prince of directing the operation. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday “I find it impossible to believe that the Crown Prince was not involved.”

Sun-Times staff contributing

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