The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) sent at least 11 messages to Saoud al-Qahtani, his closest adviser who oversaw the team that killed Jamal Khashoggi, in the hours before and after the journalist's death in October, according to a highly classified Central Intelligence Agency assessment seen by a USA newspaper.
Given the grave nature of these accusations, and the horrific claims surrounding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, how can the heads of state pictured below meet so proudly, so gratuitously, so gleefully with Mohammed bin Salman?
A clearly-irked French President Emmanuel Macron was heard telling Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "you never listen to me" in a video captured during a break in the ongoing G20 summit Friday.
The assessment reports that Qahtani, who supervised the 15-man team that killed Khashoggi, was also in direct communication with the team's leader in Istanbul.
Khashoggi was killed after entering Saudi embassy in Turkey's capital on October 2.
The killing has strained Saudi Arabia's ties with the West and battered Prince Mohammed's image overseas.
But Donald Trump has largely stood by the crown prince, defying intense pressure from lawmakers to impose broader sanctions on Saudi Arabia.
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The U.S. agreed to Canada's insistence that the dispute settlement system - formerly known as Chapter 19 - remain in the deal. The signing ceremony took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
Despite initial pleasantries, the crown prince looked sidelined during the official "family photo" of world leaders and other dignitaries, standing at the far edge of the group portrait and ignored.
The CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's killing.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir are said to have "discussed the importance of making progress" in the investigation into Khashoggi's killing during talks.
He said last month, according to the Financial Times: "We do not know what happened in reality".
But the crown prince's reputation has taken a turn after the murder of Khashoggi in Turkey.
Five staff from the centre were involved in the Khashoggi operation, the assessment says.