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US calls Saudi indictments in Khashoggi case 'good first step'

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State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said there had been no prior coordination with the United States, which simultaneously announced sanctions against 17 Saudi officials over the killing. She did not rule out further sanctions as more details come to light in the case.

[WASHINGTON] The United States welcomed the first indictments Thursday in the Saudi probe into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as a "good first step," while urging Riyadh to pursue its investigations.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said there had been no prior coordination with the United States, which simultaneously announced sanctions against 17 Saudi officials over the killing. She did not rule out further sanctions as more details come to light in the case.

"We regard the announcement that they made as a good first step, it's a step in the right direction," Ms Nauert told reporters.

"It is an initial investigation finding. It is important that those steps continue to be taken toward full accountability."

Saudi Arabia on Thursday called for the death penalty against five people accused of murdering the journalist inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, but absolved Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of any blame.

AFP

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