Saudi king orders probe in Khashoggi case, Turkey to search consulate

Andrew Cummings
October 17, 2018

After President Donald Trump on Sunday said he could take action against Saudi Arabia if the allegations proved true, the kingdom threatened to use its economic clout to retaliate.

But Riyadh vowed to hit back on Sunday against any punitive measures while Trump has also made clear he is reluctant to curb all-important arms sales to Saudi Arabia. "We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities".

SoftBank Group's shares sank Monday amid investor concerns that the firm's ties to the Saudi Arabian government could hurt it in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.

Dissident journalist and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi, 58, has been missing since last Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate to gather documents for marriage.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his German and French counterparts said "light must be shed" on Khashoggi's disappearance, and cautioned that the Saudi government was expected "to provide a complete and detailed response".

Other countries in Europe like Britain, Germany and France have issued a joint statement, reported CNN.

The Saudi warnings came after the country's stock market fell as much as 7% on Sunday amid fears of sanctions.

He warned that any sanctions would lead to the kingdom's "failure to commit" to specific levels of oil production and "if the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure".

"There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and - if relevant - to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account", the foreign ministers from the three countries said in a joint statement.

A pro-government Turkish daily published preliminary evidence last week from investigators it said identified a 15-member Saudi intelligence team which arrived in Istanbul on diplomatic passports hours before Khashoggi disappeared on October 2.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government and in particular Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

"By week's end, The New York Times and every other major Western news media organization, except Fox Business Network, had canceled its participation", the Times reported. Despite being anxious for his safety, he had gone into the consulate in Istanbul to get a document necessary to marry his Turkish fiancee, his fiancee and friends have said.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Turkish authorities had shared audio and video recordings with United States intelligence suggesting the journalist had been murdered in the Saudi consulate. Describing the disappearance as a "terrible thing", Trump said the USA would find out what happened to Khashoggi.

"We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment", he told CBS News.

Cengiz added that she had seen reports President Trump wanted to invite her to the White House.

Khashoggi had been a press critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Other reports by iNewsToday