IMF chief is ‘hor­ri­fied’ by Khashoggi case

Gulf Times Business - - FRONT PAGE -

IMF chief Chris­tine La­garde said yes­ter­day 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.

“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 con- cern for Mr Khashoggi and his fam­ily,” he added. “We look for­ward to get­ting re­sults of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

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.

The UN sec­re­tary gen­eral said he felt “this kind of in­ci­dent is mul­ti­ply­ing.”

“I am feel­ing wor­ried (at) this ap­par­ent new nor­mal,” he said in Bali.

Riyadh yes­ter­day dis­missed ac­cu­sa­tions that au­thor­i­ties there had or­dered Khashoggi be mur­dered by a hit squad in­side its Is­tan­bul con­sulate as “lies and base­less al­le­ga­tions”.

But the row has in­ten­si­fied with the Wash­ing­ton Post re­port­ing that Turk­ish of­fi­cials have record­ings made from in­side the build­ing that al­legedly prove their claims Khashoggi was tor­tured and killed at the con­sulate.

Bloomberg, the Fi­nan­cial Times, The Econ­o­mist and The New York Times have with­drawn as me­dia spon­sors from the event amid ques­tions about the miss­ing man’s fate.

The CEO of ride-hail­ing app Uber, Dara Khos­row­shahi, said that he will no longer be at­tend­ing the event un­less “a sub­stan­tially dif­fer­ent set of facts emerges”.

Bri­tish en­tre­pre­neur Richard Bran­son said he would sus­pend two di­rec­tor­ships linked to tourism projects in Saudi Ara­bia over the is­sue.

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional de­manded the Saudi au­thor­i­ties re­veal what hap­pened to Khashoggi as it said Riyadh was “re­spon­si­ble at a min­i­mum for en­forced dis­ap­pear­ance”.

IMF man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Chris­tine La­garde at the IMF and World Bank an­nual meet­ings in Nusa Dua, on In­done­sia’s re­sort is­land of Bali yes­ter­day. “Hu­man rights, free­dom of in­for­ma­tion are es­sen­tial rights and hor­ri­fy­ing things have been re­ported and I am hor­ri­fied,” she told re­porters in Bali.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Qatar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.