World leaders tested on Khashoggi murder at G20 meeting
Leaders of the Group of 20 nations met last day of November in Argentina, in order to discuss the global economy, climate and energy, and efforts to fight corruption.
No doubt that Saudi crown prince Bin Salman was the center of the meeting, in terms how the other leaders will react him following Khashoggi murder.
But for Bin Salman G20 meeting was a venue to “legitimize” himself.
Despite Jamal Khashoggi killing, the Saudi prince’s attended the meeting which was a risky business because it was unclear whether the other leaders would condemn him or not. There were couple extraordinary moments from the first day of the meeting regarding how Bin Salman will look other leaders in eyes considering what have happened to Khashoggi on October 2 in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, suspected of ordering the murder of the dissident writer Khashoggi and accused of war crimes in the Yemen conflict, was exchanging words with the French president, Emmanuel Macron. The exchange between Macron and Bin Salman has been caught on video.
In the audio of the conversation, which covered the murder of the journalist Khashoggi and the ongoing Yemen war, it is possible to make out Saudi Arabia’s de-facto leader saying “Don’t worry,” to which the French president responds: “I am worried”.
Bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin also seemed extra chummy, exchanging a bro-y, high-five-handshake like old friends despite the harsh spotlight on the two world leaders accused of horrendous human rights violations.
Although Trump, at first, walked past Bin Salman after arriving late to the meeting, Trump was later seen talking Bin Salman on the sidelines. The White House later said, Trump “exchanged pleasantries” with the crown prince during the leaders’ session, “as he did with nearly every leader in attendance.”
India’s President Modi was straight in his relation with Bin Salman. He simply didn’t even show any shame when he posed with Bin Salman in front of cameras, in fact he shared his pictures with Bin Salman in his official Twitter account.
To be honest, nobody expected Trump or Putin to give any reaction to Bin Salman, but Macron’s cozy conversation with Bin Salman was surprising.
There was only one moment when Bin Salman did not have the courage to smile or raise his head up. In fact, when President Erdoğan passed by in front of Bin Salman, Bin Salman was quite uncomfortable and did not even had a face to look Erdogan’s eyes.
Following Khashoggi murder, many leaders condemned the killing and asked Saudi officials to take the required steps in order to enlighten the case. But G20 meeting clearly showed us that the rhetoric used by most of the leaders was only a temporary reaction and they are still ready to work with Bin Salman despite the horrific killing of Khashoggi. It also showed us that Erdoğan is the only hope in Khashoggi case who will actually push for justice.