Saudi Arabia warns against sanctions over Khashoggi case

Saudi Arabia warns against sanctions over Khashoggi case

Trump made a point of visiting the kingdom on his first overseas trip as president and has touted arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Europe's largest economies - Britain, France and Germany - said on Sunday they were treating the case with "the utmost seriousness".

"According to two sources, the Saudis are preparing a report that will acknowledge that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was meant to lead to his abduction from Turkey".

Already, worldwide business leaders are pulling out of the kingdom's upcoming investment forum, a high-profile event known as 'Davos in the Desert'. The market clawed back some of the losses, closing down 3.5 per cent for the day.

Saudi Arabia will retaliate "with even greater action" if the USA president goes through with a threat of "severe punishment" should it be proven that Saudi agents killed dissident journalist Jamal Kashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal last week to form a joint working group to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance.

"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", an official said, according to state news agency SPA. But then, if they cared about such realities, the USA would have cut off support to the Saudi war in Yemen years ago.

A team of investigators entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Monday for what Turkish officials called a joint inspection of the building where Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared almost two weeks ago.

But Ankara and Riyadh disagreed over the search after Saudi officials reportedly said they would only allow a superficial "visual" search.

Saudi Arabia rejected threats to punish it over the disappearance, saying the kingdom would retaliate against any sanctions with tougher measures.

But he has said repeatedly that he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have said he should - because it would harm the USA economically.

Khashoggi, a journalist and regular columnist for the Washington Post, failed to emerge after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

If it does resort to wielding crude as ammunition - as it did in 1973-1974 when the kingdom led an oil embargo during a war between Israel and a coalition of Arab states - the move may spark far-reaching consequences for global financial markets and economies.

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

"Another geopolitical hot spot for the USA administration to navigate but this one extremely testy given that President Trump has been pressuring Saudi to up supply to counter the US -led Iran oil sanction", Stephen Innes, head of trading in the Asia Pacific for OANDA, wrote in a note, according to MarketWatch.

Investors, journalists and politicians have announced plans to boycott Saudi an important investment conference.

But has has also expressed a reluctance to punish the kingdom economically or militarily, especially in terms of reducing the sale of billions of dollars worth of United States arms to the Saudis.

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.

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