SPAIN’S government has said it is “dismayed” by the death of a Saudi Arabian journalist in suspicious circumstances but does not plan to cancel arms deals with Riyadh.
Madrid said it offered its “deepest condolences” to friends and family of Jamal Khashoggi, who died in Istanbul early last month. The Saudi regime has been accused of having a hand in his death which Riyadh denies.
Officials did not say they would cease the sale of arms to the Saudis as the German government had decided to do last week. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also threatened to cancel a multi-billion euro defence deal over the case.
Spain exports the fourth-largest amount of arms to the Saudis and the Spanish state-backed company Navatia is currently building five warships for Riyadh as part of a €1.8 billion contract.
It comes as the governments of Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement calling on the Saudis to clarify its account of Khashoggi’s death.
“Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” the statement said.
Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime who was living in the United States, was last seen alive entering the Saudi Arabian consulate building in Istanbul on Friday October 2.
Riyadh officials said on Monday the journalist had been killed at the consulate in a ‘rogue operation’. They previously said he had left the building unharmed despite there being no CCTV footage of him doing so.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi Foreign Minister, said: “We are determined to find out all the facts and we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder.”
Turkish officials have claimed they had evidence which showed Khashoggi was killed in the consulate by Saudi operatives.
Riyadh has denied claims the killing came on the orders of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman saying no senior Saudi official was aware of such a plot.
Spain and other countries have recently faced pressure to cancel arms deals with Saudi Arabia amidst concerns weapons are being used to target civilians in the Yemen Civil War. Khashoggi was critical of Saudi involvement in the conflict.