Pressured over missing writer, Saudi Arabia lashes out

Jeannie Matthews
October 16, 2018

Later that day, Trump told reporters at the White House that he wasn't open to stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia because "this took place in Turkey and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen".

France, Germany and Britain on Sunday have expressed concerns over the case, calling for "a credible investigation" into the incident.

Late Sunday, Saudi King Salman spoke by telephone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Khashoggi.

The exchange dropped by over 500 points, then clawed back some of the losses, ending the day down more than 4 per cent.

A member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee says the U.S. -Saudi relations may need "to be completely revised" if an investigation finds the kingdom's government responsible for the murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi Press Agency yesterday cited an official source as saying that "The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations that will not undermine the Kingdom and its staunch positions and Arab, Islamic and global status, the outcome of these weak endeavors, like their predecessors, is a demise". But then, if they cared about such realities, the US would have cut off support to the Saudi war in Yemen years ago.

Turkish officials have accused Saudi Arabia of sending in a 15-man team to interrogate, kill, and dismember Khashoggi's body with a bone saw before flying it back to his native country.

The Saudi government's Center for International Communication did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As part of a growing worldwide backlash against the Saudi government, some prominent business leaders and companies have said they will no longer attend a high-profile investment conference scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia later this month.

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The kingdom has called the allegations "baseless" but has offered no evidence the writer left the consulate.

Quoting an official source, SPA reported that Saudi Arabia would retaliate and respond to any measure against it with bigger measures.

It comes after Saudi Arabia issued a thinly veiled threat to cut oil production if the U.S. imposes sanctions over the disappearance.

A Gulf banker said the Khashoggi case, combined with other events, had become a significant factor for some potential investors.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Saudi Arabia and King Salman over rising global oil prices.

USA senators called for reactions ranging from boycotting an upcoming economic summit in Riyadh to ending support for Saudi military operations in Yemen.

The price rises comes as traders see the warning of retaliation from the Saudi Foreign Ministry as a strategy for the kingdom to use oil supplies as a political weapon.

The controversy has troubled Saudi's traditional Western allies - who are key arms suppliers to the kingdom - and also undermined efforts by Mohammed bin Salman to present himself as a modernising ruler.

Those policies are all seen as initiatives of the crown prince, who has also presided over a roundup of activists and businessmen.

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