Saudis defy ‘threats’ over missing writer

Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia rejects political and economic “threats” over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a source quoted by state news agency SPA says.

The country would respond to any punitive action “with a bigger one”, the unnamed senior source said. Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, vanished on 2 October after visiting its consulate in Istanbul.

US President Donald Trump said he would “punish” Saudi Arabia if it were found responsible for killing him.

On Sunday a joint statement by the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany called for a credible investigation to ensure those responsible for Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance were held to account.

“We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response,” said Jeremy Hunt, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas.

Britain and the US are considering boycotting a major international conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

The authorities in Istanbul believe Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents – claims Riyadh has dismissed as “lies”.

The source quoted by SPA said: “The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure.

“The kingdom also affirms that it will respond to any action with a bigger one. The Saudi economy has vital and influential roles for the global economy.” The Saudis have come under considerable international pressure over the disappearance.

A joint statement of condemnation, if it is confirmed that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents, is also being discussed by US and European diplomats.

Trump has said the US will inflict “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the death of Khashoggi. (BBC)



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