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BANGKOK 14 November 2018 01:21
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Saudi Arabia says will retaliate against any sanctions over Khashoggi case

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Saudi Arabia says will retaliate against any sanctions over Khashoggi case

By Andrew Torchia and Arshad Mohammed

 

2018-10-14T212006Z_1_LYNXNPEE9D0Q6_RTROPTP_4_SAUDI-POLITICS-DISSIDENT.JPG

Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi speaks at an event hosted by Middle East Monitor in London, Britain, September 29, 2018. Middle East Monitor/Handout via REUTERS

 

DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned against threats to punish it over last week's disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as European and U.S. allies piled on pressure.

 

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh's policies, disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkey believes he was murdered and his body removed. Saudi Arabia has denied that.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, though he said Washington would be "punishing" itself if it halted military sales to Riyadh.

 

"The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations," the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted an unnamed official as saying.

 

"The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the Kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy," the official added, without elaborating.

 

The Saudi Embassy in Washington later tweeted what it called a clarification, thanking countries including the United States "for refraining from jumping to conclusions" over the case.

 

In a sign Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud may seek a diplomatic solution to the incident, he stressed the strength of Saudi-Turkish ties in a telephone call with President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, the Saudi press agency said late on Sunday.

 

The king thanked Erdogan for welcoming a Saudi proposal to form a joint working group to discuss Khashoggi's disappearance and said no one could undermine their relationship.

 

EUROPE SEEKS CREDIBLE INVESTIGATION

Europe's largest economies -- Britain, France and Germany -- said on Sunday they were treating the case with "the utmost seriousness".

 

"There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and - if relevant - to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account," the countries said in a joint statement.

 

"We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response. We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities."

 

The statement, by Britain's Jeremy Hunt, France's Jean-Yves Le Drian and Germany's Heiko Maas, made no mention of potential actions the countries might take. Hunt later said that if Saudi Arabia were proven to be guilty, "we would have to think about the appropriate way to react in that situation."

 

WASHINGTON REACTS

U.S. senators called for reactions ranging from boycotting an upcoming economic summit in Riyadh to ending support for Saudi military operations in Yemen.

 

"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.

 

"Just because they are an ally in an important mission, which is containing Iranian expansion in the region, cannot allow us to overlook or walk away from that."

 

Fellow Republican, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, appearing on ABC's "This Week", called for “severe action” which he said would affect arms sales and involvement in Yemen.

 

The Saudi stock market fell as much as 7 percent in early trade on Sunday, one of the first signs of economic pain Riyadh could suffer over the affair. By close, it had recovered some losses, ending down 3.5 percent and losing $16.5 billion of market value.

 

Senators have triggered a provision of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requiring the president to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for a gross human rights violation. The act has in the past imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials.

 

Anti-Saudi sentiment in the U.S. Congress could conceivably raise pressure to pass the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, which would end sovereign immunity shielding OPEC members from U.S. legal action.

 

OIL PRICE WARNING

In a column published just after the SPA statement, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel's General Manager Turki Aldakhil warned that imposing sanctions on the world's largest oil exporter could spark global economic disaster.

 

"It would lead to Saudi Arabia's failure to commit to producing 7.5 million barrels. If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure," he wrote.

 

Investor concern is growing that Khashoggi's disappearance could add to a sense that Saudi policy has become more unpredictable under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is pushing social and economic reforms but has also presided over a rise in tensions between with several countries.

 

A Gulf banker said the Khashoggi case, combined with other events, had become a significant factor for some potential investors.

 

"It's cumulative – the Yemen war, the dispute with Qatar, the tensions with Canada and Germany, the arrests of women activists. They add up to an impression of impulsive policy-making, and that worries investors," the banker said.

 

Foreign capital is key to Saudi plans for economic diversification and job creation. But in response to Khashoggi's disappearance, media organisations and some technology executives pulled out of the Riyadh investment conference scheduled for next week.

 

On Sunday, Ford Motor Co said Chairman Bill Ford had cancelled a trip to the Middle East that included an appearance at the Saudi investment conference. The company did not comment on whether the decision was related to concerns about the disappearance of Khashoggi.

 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin still plans to attend the conference, but that could change, Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, said on "This Week".

 

ACCESSING CONSULATE

The crisis has polarised Saudis, with some blaming the nation's enemies and others concerned about the direction the country is heading under Prince Mohammed.

 

Prince Khaled al-Faisal, a senior member of Saudi Arabia's ruling family and senior advisor to King Salman, has met Erdogan to discuss Khashoggi's disappearance, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters without providing details.

 

A Turkish official told Reuters on Sunday that the Saudis had said they would allow the consulate to be searched, and that this would happen by the end of the weekend, though he conceded to "flexibility on this date."

 

"But Turkey is determined on the subject of entering the consulate and carrying out a criminal inspection. There is no alternative to carrying out this inspection. Time is important in terms of evidence," the official said.

 

(Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi and Asma Alsharif in Dubai, Orhan Coskun in Ankara, Michael Nienaber in Berlin, Elizabeth Piper in London, Christopher Bing and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; writing by Stephen Kalin, Arshad Mohammed, Phil Stewart; editing by Robin Pomeroy and Sandra Maler)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-10-15
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What a buzz this is.

Electric cars are just around the corner but many countries like Australia cannot generate enough power to run them.

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5 minutes ago, nausea said:

Stupid Saudis, give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself. Like they were getting away with their shenanigans cos no-one wanted to upset them, they've obviously taken this as a carte blanche. Sorry guys, there are limits. How the Saudis and the powers that be wriggle out of this one is gonna be interesting.

Well, it seems that the Russians can get away with knocking people off with impunity, so I suppose the Saudi's think it's OK.   I wonder who will be next?

 

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It's about time, to bad sanctions don't work they will be back to their old and proven ways in no time!

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48 minutes ago, Silurian said:

Uh oh. The future of the Trump branded line of hotels in Saudi Arabia appears to be in jeopardy!!!

 

Also, will the Saudis no longer book rooms at the Trump hotel in Washington DC? No more Saudi money being funneled money to Trump via hotel bookings?

 

 

Trump’s deep business ties with Saudi Arabia under scrutiny as tensions rise

 

As the U.S. is 3rd in the world's tourist destination. I don't think the fact that a few Saudis won't be staying at one of his hotels is really going to bother him.

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22 minutes ago, Credo said:

Well, it seems that the Russians can get away with knocking people off with impunity, so I suppose the Saudi's think it's OK.   I wonder who will be next?

 

I've been thinking this too, the leaders of the US and Russia are influencing the leaders of rest of the world, and not in a good way.  I began expecting bodies to start piling up in the US last year, hasn't happened yet.  Maybe the American GOP will be happy enough with voter suppression.

 

 

Edited by bendejo
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Trump thinks he can put severe sanctions on Saudi and they will still hand over billions of dollars for weapons?

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13 minutes ago, lanista said:

 

If this murder had happened in a Russian consulate the media and Washington 'outrage' would have been huge and relentless.

The Saudis and Israeli's can do as they please to whoever and wherever.

 

As opposed to what it is now? Really? You're running on automatic pilot.

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1 hour ago, bendejo said:

 

I've been thinking this too, the leaders of the US and Russia are influencing the leaders of rest of the world, and not in a good way.  I began expecting bodies to start piling up in the US last year, hasn't happened yet.  Maybe the American GOP will be happy enough with voter suppression.

 

 

Rush LimpRod says check under the Clinton's floorboards for bodies.

It wouldn't surprise if the Saudi King, who already has Alzheimer's disease, is helped along to paradise by the Dark Crown Prince. There are dozens of his brothers, uncles and cousins who could lay claim to the crown if they could influence the diminished King.

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