UK, Germany, France press Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi disappearance

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.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday thanked Washington for not rushing to conclusions as the probe continues into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

US President Donald Trump said on Saturday there would be "severe punishment" for Saudi Arabia if it turned out that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate. But she said, "If he makes a genuine contribution to the efforts to reveal what happened inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that day, I will consider accepting his invitation".

The index suffered its biggest intraday decline since December 2014, when oil prices were crashing, with the Gulf region's biggest petrochemical producer, Saudi Basic Industries, tumbling as much as 7.9 percent, Reuters said.

Saudi Arabia has begun an internal investigation into the disappearance of a prominent journalist at its Istanbul consulate and could hold people accountable if the evidence warrants it, according to a Saudi official. American lawmakers have threated sanctions against the Saudis, and Germany, France and Britain jointly called today for a "credible investigation" into Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

"If US sanctions are imposed on Saudi Arabia, we will be facing an economic disaster that would rock the entire world", said Aldakhil.

Citing an "official source", the kingdom's press agency said that that it will not succumb to any political or economical pressures and nothing can as such can harm the economical position of the kingdom.


But in a strongly worded op-ed published later on Sunday, Turki Aldakhil, general manager of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel, warned that if the United States imposed sanctions on Riyadh "it will stab its own economy to death", cause oil prices to reach as high as $200 a barrel, lead Riyadh to permit a Russian military base in the city of Tabuk, and drive the Middle East into the arms of Iran.

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. The Washington Post contributor, who was living in self-imposed exile in the USA since 2017, had reportedly gone to the consulate to collect some papers for his marriage.

Saudi Arabia firmly denies any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance and says he left the consulate that afternoon.

Jamal Khashoggi hasn't been seen since entering the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.

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

Khashoggi's vanishing, and the grisly allegations of his murder by Saudi authorities, are testing close ties between the Trump administration and its key Arab ally.


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