Saudi Arabia vows retaliation against United States sanction 'threats' following Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance

Dwayne Harmon
October 18, 2018

Khashoggi, a US resident, Washington Post columnist and leading critic of the powerful Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago to get marriage documents. Three foreign ministers from the U.K., France and Germany called for "a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened [to Khashoggi]", and for those responsible for his disappearance to be held accountable.

The New York Times, citing a person familiar with the Saudi plans, reported the crown prince had approved an interrogation or rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.

Long before the dissident Saudi journalist, the kingdom has sought influence in the West - perhaps intended, in part, to make us forget what it is.

But Switzerland would only be obliged to follow suit if the United Nations chose to take punitive measures, he added. Ford Motor Co said Chairman Bill Ford has canceled his trip to the Middle East, which included an appearance at the Saudi investment conference.

Swiss exports include mainly pharmaceutical products, watches and machinery, while Saudi oil exports to European countries indirectly cover about 60% of Switzerland's crude oil imports.

Saudi Arabia's riyal was quoted at 3.7514 to the USA dollar in the spot market early on Monday, its weakest rate since June 2017, Refinitiv data showed, as the kingdom faced pressure over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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Neither JP Morgan nor Ford would elaborate on the reasons for the decision not to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh later this month, and did not comment on whether concerns about the disappearance of Khashoggi were a factor. At the moment Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plans to keep his own plans to attend - though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says they're evaluating the situation closely.

"If they lured this man into that consulate, they went medieval on him, and he was killed and he was chopped up and they sent a death crew down there to kill him and do all of this, that would be an outrage", Florida Senator Marco Rubio told CNN's State of the Union.

Both Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, and West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, were up just less than 1%, at $81.21 and $71.87 a barrel, holding just below nearly four-year highs reached October 3.

Nevertheless, the Saudi Stock Exchange plummeted about 7 percent at one point Sunday on fears of economic fallout from the diplomatic dispute, before recovering some of its losses later in the day. The act has in the past imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials.

Sens. Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake, members of the Foreign Relations Committee, have said Congress is prepared to move quickly and firmly if Trump fails to adequately respond to Khashoggi's disappearance.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government and in particular Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

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