MBS arrives in Argentina in the face of G20: Will he be a pariah?

World leaders at upcoming G20 summit may refuse to shake hands with Saudi prince, amid outcry over Khashoggi's killing.

    Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has arrived in Buenos Aires in the run-up to the G20 summit, a visit fraught with controversy over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    Human Rights Watch asked Argentina on Monday to use the war crimes clause in its constitution to investigate any involvement by the crown prince in possible crimes against humanity in Yemen and Khashoggi's murder.

    The killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince, at Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul six weeks ago, has strained Saudi Arabia's ties with the West and battered Prince Mohammed's image abroad.

    Saudi Arabia has said the prince, the kingdom's de facto ruler, had no prior knowledge of the murder.

    Prince Mohammed arrived in Buenos Aires from Tunisia, where he was met by protesters who denounced him as a murderer for the killing of Khashoggi.

    Western nations are also calling for an end to the Saudi-led military campaign in neighbouring Yemen, which was launched by Prince Mohammed, as a humanitarian crisis there worsens.

    Shunning the photo-op?

    The G20 leaders' summit begins on Friday and there will likely be leaders who would not want to be seen shaking hands with the Saudi prince.

    The summit's photo opportunities could cause serious ripples, and have concrete repercussions for the world leaders at home by appearing to exonerate or legitimise Prince Mohammed, who US intelligence agencies reportedly concluded ordered the killing.

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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has kept international pressure mounting on Saudi Arabia, is also expected to attend. The crown prince has requested a meeting with Erdogan on the sidelines of the summit, according to Ankara.

    Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pentagon chief James Mattis will brief the US Senate on Wednesday on the latest developments related to Saudi Arabia.

    The closed-door briefing could determine how far Congress goes in punishing its long-time Middle East ally over Khashoggi's murder.

    Many US legislators, including some of President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans, as well as Democrats, have expressed concern about Khashoggi's killing and the war in Yemen, which has created one of the world's most urgent humanitarian disasters.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says "some kind of response" is needed from the US for the Saudis' role in the death.

    While US President Donald Trump has equivocated over who is to blame, the Senate is considering a vote as soon as this week to halt US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

    "What obviously happened, as basically certified by the CIA, is completely abhorrent to everything the United States holds dear and stands for in the world," McConnell said. "We're discussing what the appropriate response would be."

    Mattis and Pompeo are expected to address the Senate at 16:00 GMT in Washington, DC.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies