Theresa May welcomes Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 conference

Larry Hoffman
December 2, 2018

Following talks at a G20 summit with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Putin said the world's two biggest exporters of crude "have agreed to extend our agreement".

Russian President Vladimir Putin and bin Salman shared a chummy, enthusiastic greeting, beaming widely and clasping hands in something of a cross between a handshake and a high-five.

Earlier on Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Prince Mohammed sent 11 messages to his closest adviser, who reportedly oversaw the operatives who killed Khashoggi. French president Emmanuel Macron said: "He was a world leader, who strongly supported the alliance with Europe".

The clip was partially inaudible and the context of the exchange was not entirely clear.

Mr Macron responded: "I am worried.You never listen to me".

At a summit of the Group of 20 in Buenos Aires, the Turkish leader took a firm tone on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Mattis said the meeting included exhaustive discussions and that lawmakers expressed frustration with USA support to Saudi Arabia.

The prince was also seen chatting with President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka, although in a nod to U.S. domestic outrage over Saudi Arabia, the White House downplayed the encounter.

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At one point, President Trump can be seen walking behind the two leaders, paying them no attention. "We might, but we had none". In a statement to Russian news outlet TASS, Kremlin official Yuri Ushakov said of the meeting: "The political dialogue [between Russia and Saudi Arabia] is regular and substantive".

France was among a number of European nations who expressed concern about Khashoggi's killing.

The Trump administration's reluctance to acknowledge reports from the justice community stands in contrast to calls for a USA response from lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who demanded action for Khashoggi's death, which he called "completely abhorrent to everything the United States holds dear and stands for".

But he criticised Prince Mohammed, saying that during the summit the 33-year-old heir apparent gave an "unbelievable explanation" on Khashoggi's killing that denied any Saudi official role.

Although the White House had urged a "no" vote, American senators voted 63-37 to consider ending Washington's support for the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen.

May's office says the prime minister stressed to Salman the importance of ensuring those responsible for the "appalling murder" of Khashoggi are held to account.

But there seems to be a contradiction in asking Saudi's de facto ruler for such an investigation, unless she is already presuming his innocence.

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