Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Turkey at the time of the grisly murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been rewarded with a promotion by being appointed deputy foreign minister of the kingdom, in a move that is likely to raise further doubts over Riyadh’s pledge to punish those responsible for the killing of the Washington Post journalist.
Waleed A Elkhereiji was Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Istanbul when Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a group of operatives shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate. His body was never found.
Elkhereiji was summoned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry to inquire about Khashoggi’s whereabouts when he was discovered to have been missing. At the time, the Saudis insisted that Khashoggi had left the consulate. Riyadh admitted the 59-year-old was killed on its premises only when Ankara provided evidence that he had not left the Saudi consulate and that it was in possession of irrefutable evidence proving his murder within the building.
Elkhereiji worked as Saudi Arabia’s Agriculture Minister for a year until 2015. In the same year, he was appointed by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz as a member of his Shura Council, a formal advisory body. He soon got a promotion and became Saudi ambassador to Ankara in 2017.
In March Turkey’s Attorney General issued indictments against 20 Saudi Arabian citizens accused of the murder of Khashoggi. Elkhereiji was not included on the list.
A 2019 UN report concluded that the crown prince known colloquially as MBS is responsible for the murder of Khashoggi. American intelligence also reached the same conclusion.