Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Riyadh is still not aware of where the remains of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi are, calling the killing a "dishonest operation" and a "big mistake."
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Fox News on Sunday, Adel al-Jubeir The murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul nearly three weeks ago was "a terrible tragedy" with which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had nothing to do with it.
Al-Jubeir said Khashoggi was contacted by the "Saudi security team" when he entered the consulate on October 2. He added that the team's explanation of what happened after that was different from that of the Turkish officials, which prompted the Saudis to investigate.
"He was killed at the consulate, we do not know in detail how, we do not know where the body is," he said.
"We are determined to discover every stone … We are determined to punish those responsible for this murder."
The Saudis have arranged different versions of the circumstances that led to the death of Khashoggi, Washington Post columnist and MBS critic, who was not seen after joining the consulate.
Al-Jubeir was the first senior Saudi official to speak on the record since the Saudis admitted on Saturday, after more than two weeks of denials, that Khashoggi was killed inside his consulate in the Turkish city.
In a statement read in state media, the Saudi attorney general's office said the 59-year-old man died in a "fight."
The explanation marked a radical turn for the kingdom that had always insisted that Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after entering. He also contradicted leaked information from anonymous Turkish security sources that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered inside the building.
The Saudi admission, which came amid growing pressure on Riyadh, has done little to alleviate international demands of responsibility. Turkey has said it will not allow a "cover-up," while European leaders have said that the hypotheses "proposed so far in Saudi research must be backed by facts to be considered credible.
Eighteen men were in custody for the murder, the kingdom said the kingdom on Saturday, as it also announced the dismissal of two senior MBS advisers, as well as three other intelligence officers.
In the Fox News interview, al-Jubeir called the killing "a huge and serious mistake" and offered his condolences to the Khashoggi family.
"The  Individuals did this out of the reach of their authority. They were not people closely linked to him (MBS). This was an operation that was a dishonest operation, "he said.
"There were photographs of some security officers that may have been part of their security detail from time to time, but this is normal." Security people dealing with the security details rotate between different officials, both domestic and foreign. Therefore, having someone in a picture does not imply that they are close to everything. "
Al Jazeera Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Istanbul, said al-Jubeir's comments were not sustained.
"Anyone who knows how the details of senior government officials, heads of state or deputy heads of states like Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would know that [security] the detail is attached to you, it is assigned and it does not really change, "he said.
He also cited reports that Maher Mutreb, the security officer who appeared in a photo with MBS, made four phone calls to the personal secretary of the crown prince during and after Khashoggi's murder.
Al-Jubeir also said he hoped relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia would resist the consequences of Khashoggi's assassination.
"The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is historical and strategic … I think that when the investigation is completed and the facts are revealed, and people know who was responsible and see those individuals punished and procedures are implemented to prevent them. happen [again], the relationship will resist this, "he said.
Al Jazeera and news agencies.