Turkey to search Saudi consulate Monday: diplomatic source

Muriel Colon
October 16, 2018

Saudi Arabia will allow Turkey to search its consulate in Istanbul Monday afternoon, almost two weeks after prominent journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi entered the consulate on October 2 and has not been seen since.

The phone call, during which King Salman thanked the Turkish president for agreeing to set up a joint Saudi-Turkish team to investigate what happened to Mr. Khashoggi, was the first direct contact between the two leaders since the journalist went missing.

Khashoggi, a USA resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh's policies, disappeared on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Oil prices firmed Monday morning as questions surrounding the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had traders pricing in the possibility sanctions would be imposed against Saudi Arabia.

USA lawmakers have called on President Trump to impose sanctions, Germany, France and England called for a "credible" investigation, and many western companies, executives and media companies have pulled out of an event later this month that the crown price organized to promote investment in the country.

Turkish sources have said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the building and his body removed, allegations that Riyadh dismisses as baseless.

Saudi Arabia is preparing a report that would admit Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed as the result of an interrogation that went wrong, CNN reported on Monday, citing two unnamed sources.

The case has provoked an worldwide outcry, with US 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 Turkish government has also told the Trump administration that it possesses audio recordings of what occurred inside the consulate that day - evidence that US officials said supports the conclusion that Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure", an official said, according to state news agency SPA.

The global oil market that's already being squeezed by USA sanctions on Iran is now being rattled by the risk of potential American action against another OPEC member. "There remain questions about the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi that only Saudi Arabia can answer". While U.S. crude production rivals Saudi Arabia's, America's exports are much smaller.

More than 20 Republican and Democratic senators instructed Trump last week to order an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance under legislation that authorizes sanctions for perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross human rights violations.

"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.

He said Pakistan has close and fraternal relationship with both Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Oil & politics: The last time Saudi Arabia used oil as a political weapon was when it led an Arab oil embargo during the 1973 war between Israel and a coalition of Arab states.

Prince Mohammed, King Salman's son, has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment.

Investors have taken fright, prompting Saudi stocks to tumble by around seven percent at one point on Sunday, wiping out their gains for 2018.

The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jamie Dimon, had been a featured speaker at the conference in Riyadh.

Trump quoted the King on Monday as saying that neither he nor his son, Crown Prince Mohammed, had any information about what had happened to Khashoggi.

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