In a significant development, the UK, France and Germany on Sunday demanded that Saudi Arabia provide “complete and detailed response” on disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
This came just hours after Saudi Arabia rejected the looming political and economic “threats” from the western countries including the USA over missing Khashoggi. A known critic of the Saudi government, Khashoggi had disappeared on 2 October after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey.
Several reports had suggested that the Saudi secret agents had killed him while he was inside the premises of the Saudi consulate. Riyadh has dismissed these reports, terming them as lies.
US President Donald Trump had earlier said that his country will inflict “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the death of Khashoggi. “We would be very very upset if that is the case,” he had told a news channel. Trump also said that the crown prince had denied the allegations when he spoke to him on the phone adding that everyone will know the answer in the ‘not too distant’ future.
News agency SPA quoted a Saudi government source as saying, “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.”
Although a report by BBC said that both US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox might not attend next month’s investment conference in Riyadh, White House aide Larry Kudlow told ABC News that as things stood Mnuchin was intending to go to Riyadh. He, however, said that a final decision “as new information surfaces”.