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Trudeau brings up Khashoggi, Yemen with Saudi crown prince at G20 summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers short remarks during the Women's Economic Empowerment Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, one of the most controversial leaders at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, despite earlier reports that he would not confront him on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trudeau said has expressed his concerns about the apparent murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The Saudi crown prince has been linked to the killing and Trudeau said he brought the subject up at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires as well as the civil war in Yemen.

“I also spoke directly to the Crown Prince to highlight our concerns and our need for better answers on the killing of Khashoggi and also the need for an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid to go to Yemen, which is the largest humanitarian catastrophe going on in the world right now,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau held a bilateral meeting this morning with French President Emmanuel Macron, and is also set to sit down with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Both leaders have spoken directly to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince at the summit of world leaders.

All eyes have been on the Saudi crown prince during the trip, which marks his first major overseas appearance since the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October.

On Friday, May’s office said the prime minister stressed to Salman the importance of ensuring those responsible for the “appalling murder” of Khashoggi are held to account.


Macron also came face-to-face with the Saudi crown prince, and an official said the tense exchange captured on video shows the president’s firm stance.

On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Canada was imposing sanctions on 17 Saudi Arabian nationals the government deems linked to Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Trudeau also spoke to Vladimir Putin about the Ukraine situation

Trudeau said he also asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to release Ukrainian sailors who have been taken prisoner. He raised his concerns about Russia’s actions that resulted in the seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea.

“Yesterday morning, our first event was a leaders’ retreat in which I took a moment to speak directly to President Putin, impressing upon him our concerns with the situation in the Sea of Azov and the Ukrainian sailors that have been taken prisoner,” Trudeau said.

He added Putin did not have an opportunity to respond to his remarks during the meeting of leaders. Trudeau says frank and direct conversations with leaders is better than not talking.