UPDATE – Turkey is a ‘friendly country’: Saudi foreign minister

UPDATES WITH SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER'S REMARKS ON GULF CRISIS

MANAMA (AA) – Turkey is a friendly country to Saudi Arabia, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Saturday.

"Turkey is a friendly country and we have good trade and investment relations with it," al-Jubeir said in reply to a question during the Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain.

The remarks came amid a Turkish investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had gone missing since entering the consulate on Oct. 2.

After weeks of denying any knowledge of his whereabouts, Saudi officials last week admitted that Khashoggi had died inside the consulate building.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 18 suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s killing should be extradited to Turkey to face the trial.

“The Kingdom will hold those involved in the case accountable,” al-Jubeir said in reply to a question about the Turkish request to extradite the suspects for trial.

Commenting on a German decision to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the case, al-Jubeir said Riyadh has stopped buying weapons from Germany for some time, without giving further details.

On Friday evening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed her pledge to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia until the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi's death were revealed.

Meanwhile, al-Jubeir said the Gulf crisis did not impact military coordination among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including Qatar.

The GCC "will remain the most important institution for the Gulf States," he said, underlining keenness to spare the GCC the impact of differences among members, particularly in the military side.

A six-nation bloc of oil-rich Arab Gulf states, the GCC is composed of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

Last month, Qatar attended a meeting of the GCC chiefs of staff for the first time since the outbreak of the Gulf crisis in mid-2017 to discuss ways to strengthen military and defense cooperation.

In June of last year, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain collectively severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

The Saudi-led axis also imposed an air/land/sea embargo on Qatar, which continues to vociferously deny the terror allegations.

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