WASHINGTON (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday (Oct 21) that the kingdom did not know where the body of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi was, despite admitting to the killing and calling it a "tremendous mistake".
Speaking in an interview on Fox News, Mr Jubeir said the Saudi leadership initially believed Mr Khashoggi had left its consulate in Istanbul, where he was last seen on Oct 2.
But following "reports we were getting from Turkey", Saudi authorities began an investigation, which discovered he was killed in the diplomatic mission.
"We don't know, in terms of details, how. We don't know where the body is," Mr Jubeir said, adding that the Saudi public prosecutor had put out orders to detain 18 individuals, "the first step in a long journey".
He termed the killing a "tremendous mistake" but one which the United States-Saudi relationship would eventually overcome.
"The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority. There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up," Mr Jubeir told Fox News.
"That is unacceptable in any government. These things, unfortunately, happen. We want to make sure that those who are responsible are punished and we want to make sure we have procedures in place to prevent it from happening again."