Saudi crown prince gets standing ovation at global conference

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a standing ovation Tuesday while making an appearance at a global investment conference in Riyadh.

Multiple companies and governments had withdrawn representatives from the summit amid controversy over the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Video published by The New York Times on Tuesday shows Crown Prince Mohammed arriving to a cheering crowd, though no audio from the video was immediately available.


The crown prince did not give remarks Tuesday at the beginning of the 2018 Riyadh Future Investment Initiative, which began this week, according to the Times.

The conference was put in the spotlight earlier this month amid controversy over the death of Khashoggi, a U.S.-based journalist who disappeared weeks ago after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denials, the Saudi government acknowledged last week that Khashoggi had died inside the consulate but claimed his death was the result of a fight that broke out between the journalist and more than a dozen men.

U.S. lawmakers have balked at that explanation, while Turkish officials have said that Khashoggi was ambushed and murdered by Saudi operatives inside the consulate before being dismembered.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had written critically about the Saudi government, including the crown prince, before his death.

One speaker at the investment event, billionaire Saudi businesswoman Lubna Olayan, addressed the controversy over the death of Khashoggi during her remarks but stated only that the country would emerge "stronger" than before the crisis.

“The terrible acts reported in recent weeks are alien to our culture and our DNA,” she said, according to the Times. “I am sure we will grow and emerge stronger as a result of dealing with the crisis of the last few weeks."

Finance ministers from several European countries and the U.S. withdrew participation from the conference this month over the scandal.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin canceled plans to attend the summit but traveled to Riyadh to meet with the crown prince on Monday.

The pair discussed Khashoggi's death as well as the larger U.S.-Saudi relationship, including ongoing efforts to combat Iranian influence in the region, Mnuchin's spokesman told The Washington Post.

"I’m not satisfied with what I’ve heard," Trump told reporters Monday at the White House of the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi's death after speaking to Crown Prince Mohammed.