IMF chief Lagarde ‘horrified’ by case, but still plans trip to Saudi Arabia
Nusa Dua (Indonesia) IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Saturday she was “horrified” by reports about the fate of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi but still plans to attend an economic meeting in Riyadh this month.
As questions swirl over the fate of Khashoggi — a Saudi critic who has not been seen since he walked into the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2 — some big business names and media outlets have pulled out of the Kingdom’s second Future Investment Initiative.
But Lagarde said her plans were unchanged for now, despite international uproar over the case.
“Human rights, freedom of information are essential rights and horrifying things have been reported and I am horrified,” she told reporters in Bali where the IMF is holding annual meetings.
“But I have to conduct the business of the IMF in all corners in the world and with many governments.”
“When I visit a country, I always speak my mind... So at this point of time my intention is to not change my plans and to be very attentive to the information that is coming out in the next few days.”
Her comments came shortly after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he also still planned to attend the October 23-25 meeting, dubbed “Davos in the Desert”.
“The answer is for now I am” still going, Mnuchin said.
“If more information comes out over the next week, I will obviously take that into account.”
“Obviously I want to express concern for Mr Khashoggi and his family,” he added.
UN chief Antonio Guterres meanwhile told the BBC: “We need to have a strong request for the truth to be clear.” “We need to know exactly what has happened and we need to know exactly who is responsible... we need to find ways in which accountability is also demanded,” he added.