Saudi Arabia vows retaliation if punished over missing critic

But the unexplained disappearance of Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser turned critic, has already prompted some big-name business partners to cut ties with projects that are central to Saudi's plans of building a modern economy with technology at its core.

"The kingdom confirms its categorical rejection of any threats and attempts to harm it by threatening to impose economic sanctions or the exercise of political pressure", the official continued, adding that the Saudi economy is "vital and influential" in the global economy.

Separately, sources inside Saudi Arabia said that any punitive measures directed its way would generate larger counter-measures.

Hatice Cengiz said that if her husband-to-be, who has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, had been murdered, the perpetrators' status must not protect them.

Meanwhile, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud said Saturday that "what has been circulating about orders to kill (Khashoggi) are lies and baseless allegations against the government of the kingdom".

Turkish sources claim he was killed by a hit squad of Saudi agents.

The men stayed at the consulate for a few hours and then took flights back to Saudi Arabia.

This begs the question: just why is the USA government involved in arms sales?

In an interview aired Sunday, Trump told CBS' "60 Minutes" that Saudi Arabia would face strong consequences if involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.

Sen. Bernie Sanders joined calls for the U.S.to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia if the country is responsible for the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a consulate in Turkey earlier this month.

On Sunday, the Saudi Embassy followed up by writing on Twitter: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends...appreciation to all, including the United States administration, for refraining from jumping to conclusions on the ongoing investigation".

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Turkish authorities shared audio and video recordings with United States intelligence suggesting that the journalist had been murdered in the Saudi consulate.

"The recent disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi suggests that he could be a victim of a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights", almost two dozen senators explained in their letter to the president.

President Trump warned the U.S. would inflict "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia was behind his disappearance.

US lawmakers have also called for economic sanctions to be imposed on the regime, sending the Saudi stock market down as much as seven percent in early trade on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Turkish foreign ministry said the Saudi consulate in Istanbul would be searched as part of the investigation.

Still, regional traders said speculation the Khashoggi case might deter some inflows of foreign investment - and that a backlash in the US Congress could lead to US sanctions against some Saudi individuals - had triggered panic selling of stocks by some local investors. "Obviously, we have a long-standing partnership with Saudi Arabia in a lot of areas".

  • Eleanor Harrison