IMF chief La­garde ‘hor­ri­fied’ by case, but still plans trip to Saudi Ara­bia

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Agence France­Presse let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

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.

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