Khashoggi Investigation: Saudi threatens to retaliate against sanctions

In a joint statement on Sunday, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom said that "light must be shed" on the disappearance of the US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

The case has provoked an worldwide outcry, with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and European allies calling for "a credible investigation" and accountability for those responsible.

The statement was issued as global concern grew over the writer who vanished on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul over a week ago.

With SoftBank's Saudi ties causing jitters, the share sell-off is "more psychological than anything related to worries on its fundamentals", said Makoto Kikuchi, chief executive of Myojo Asset Management.

Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, October 5, 2018.

In an interview with "60 Minutes" airing Sunday, US President Donald Trump pledged "severe punishment" if the US concludes that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi, a US resident, and said that the incident is being investigated.

While expressing support for joint Saudi-Turkish efforts to look into his disappearance, they said the Saudi government must provide "a complete and detailed response", indicating that such a message had been conveyed "directly" to Riyadh.

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 Saudi stock market dropped by 7% on Sunday after Trump threatened of "severe punishment" which spooked investors.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday declined to confirm whether US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would still be attending the Future Investment Initiative conference being hosted by the Saudi Crown Prince - known as "Davos in the desert" - later this month.

On Friday, a source familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN that Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. Pointing out that Russia and China were ready to step in, he added that "no one can deny that repercussions of these sanctions will include a Russian military base in Tabuk, northwest of Saudi Arabia, in the heated four corners of Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq".

Earlier on Sunday, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani denounced the media campaign against Saudi Arabia and pointed out that some media outlets "violated principles of the code of ethics in the media".

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

  • Eleanor Harrison