Saudi Arabia told to investigate disappearance of missing journalist

A member of security staff casts shadows at the entrance of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul Turkey Oct 12 2018. Reuters

USA treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin on Sunday was second-guessing his stated intention to attend an economic conference in Saudi Arabia, following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The matter is still being investigated and Saudi Arabia has been claiming that Khashoggi left its Consulate in Istanbul.

Unconfirmed reports said that Khashoggi was likely killed inside the compound, which was denied by Saudi officials as "baseless".

The fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi has said that she will only consider accepting Donald Trump's invitation to the White House if the U.S. president is prepared to make a "genuine contribution" to investigating the Saudi critic's disappearance. But Riyadh vowed to hit back against any action against it.

The main stock market index in Riyadh fell as much as 7% on Sunday and billions of dollars were wiped off the value of leading Saudi companies.

Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Khashoggi vanished on October 2 after entering the consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. They had alleged that a 15-man team flew from Riyadh to Istanbul on the day the senior journalist visited the consulate and carried out the alleged murder of the journalist.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in a CBS interview on Saturday that there would be "severe punishment" for Saudi Arabia if it turns out that missing Saudi journalist Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

There is mounting worldwide pressure on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to explain Khashoggi's disappearance.

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom also ramped up pressure on Sunday, vowing to identify those responsible for Khashoggi's fate and hold them accountable for their actions.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment.

"Together we must prove we will not be bullied or else, mark my words, once they have finished kicking the kingdom, we will be next in line", al-Habtoor said. "The Saudi economy has vital and influential roles for the global economy".

But the president has also said "we would be punishing ourselves" by canceling arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Uber's CEO has also backed out, while billionaire Richard Branson has suspended talks with Riyadh regarding a planned $1 billion investment into his space ventures.

Oil futures rose on Monday on concerns about supply, while stocks in Saudi Arabia fell sharply on Sunday. Sam Altman, president of start-up investment firm Y Combinator, said last week he was suspending involvement with NEOM's advisory board "until the facts regarding Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance are known".

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials had audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post, was murdered inside the consulate. "Egypt warns against the attempts to exploit the case politically against Saudi Arabia based on false accusations, the Egyptian republic asserts its support to the kingdom's efforts in dealing with the situation", read the statement.

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