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Pressured over missing writer, Saudi Arabia lashes out

Pressured over missing writer, Saudi Arabia lashes out

A leading US senator says Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shouldn't attend a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia later this month in the wake of reports that journalist and USA resident Jamal Khashoggi may have been killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

More major players in global finance and industry are pulling out of a high-profile business conference in Saudi Arabia in the wake of reports that a Saudi writer critical of the government disappeared and is feared dead after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia had not cooperated in the investigation, despite proposing to create the joint working group with Turkish authorities.

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

Mohammed Zidan, market strategist at Thinkmarket in Dubai, said the drop in Saudi stocks was linked to the uncertainty surrounding the Khashoggi affair.

The statement articulated the concern of the Swiss Foreign Ministry and its hopes to get more explanation on Khashoggi's fate.

Earlier in the day, Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford has also cancelled an upcoming trip to the Riyadh business conference.

The Washington Post reported in recent days that the Turkish government informed USA officials it was in possession of video recordings that prove Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, but have not made them public.

King Salman also ordered Saudi prosecutors to begin an investigation into what happened to Mr Khashoggi, according to Reuters.

In a statement issued through the official Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Arabia has said it would retaliate if there were any sanctions by the US.

"Since Saudi arms are being used to ravage Yemen and they are apparently complicit in the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, I can not support President Trump's proposed arms sale", Durbin said.

Turkish authorities have told USA officials that they have recordings from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that provide evidence that Khashoggi was killed inside, officials told NBC News.

Turkish authorities believe Khashoggi was killed inside the mission by a Saudi state hit-squad, charges that Saudi authorities have consistently denied. Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Gulf states in a military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Trump said "nobody knows yet" what happened inside the consulate, "but we'll probably be able to find out" if Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder.

Prodded Saturday to specify what type of "severe punishment" he could impose, Trump demurred.

No-one could undermine the strong relationship with Turkey, he said.

"We will take stern action with the Saudis if necessary", Kudlow said.

Swiss exports include mainly pharmaceutical products, watches and machinery, while Saudi oil exports to European countries indirectly cover about 60% of Switzerland's crude oil imports.

The Saudi government deployed similar tactics during quarrels in the past year with Germany and Canada, she said.

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