In the Wake of Khashoggi Killing, Saudi Arabia Draws Support From African Allies

In the Wake of Khashoggi Killing, Saudi Arabia Draws Support From African Allies
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, center, and Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, second right, attend the Future Investment Initiative conference, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

Criticism of Saudi Arabia is easy to come by these days. As the kingdom has struggled to get its story straight on the killing earlier this month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh has encountered a chorus of condemnation from Berlin, Brussels, London, Ottawa and many voices in Washington. Even U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to turn on his Saudi allies this week, referring to their shifting statements on the murder as “the worst cover-up ever.”

From Africa, however, the messaging has been decidedly different, as The Associated Press pointed out in a story Wednesday. Both before and during this week’s global investment conference in Riyadh, various African governments issued statements of support for the Saudis, sometimes rankling their citizens back home. Djibouti denounced “the media campaign seeking to tarnish the image” of Saudi Arabia, while praising the kingdom as a beacon of “fraternity, justice and tolerance.” Mauritania lamented a “campaign of false allegations” and said it was “confident in Saudi justice.” Somalia expressed “full solidarity” with Riyadh. South Sudan praised Riyadh’s “honorable” handling of the Khashoggi affair. And the president of Gabon, Ali Bongo, in a Twitter post Wednesday, described his “very warm meeting” with King Salman and noted that ties between the two countries were “very close and unbreakable.”

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