Hunt urged to act over miss­ing Saudi jour­nal­ist

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS -

Jeremy Hunt is un­der pres­sure to take tough ac­tion over the dis­ap­pear­ance of a Saudi jour­nal­ist af­ter busi­ness lead­ers shunned the regime.

The for­eign sec­re­tary was warned Bri­tain must not be “craven” in its re­sponse to claims Ja­mal Khashoggi was mur­dered while vis­it­ing the king­dom’s con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

Fi­nan­cial Times ed­i­tor Lionel Barber an­nounced the news­pa­per is pulling its part­ner­ship in a high-pro­file eco­nomic con­fer­ence in Riyadh and Sir Richard Bran­son has frozen sev­eral busi­ness links with the Gulf state.

Saudi Ara­bia’s am­bas­sador to the UK Prince Mo­hammed bin Nawaf al Saud ear­lier said he was “con­cerned” about Mr Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

Mr Hunt met the diplo­mat on Tues­day and later spoke to for­eign min­is­ter Adel al-Jubeir by phone to voice the UK’s con­cerns but has not spo­ken pub­licly about the case since.

Saudi Ara­bia is Bri­tain’s main ally in the re­gion and Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May vis­ited last year.

For­mer in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment sec­re­tary An­drew Mitchell warned the UK’s calls for a united in­ter­na­tional re­sponse in the wake of the Sal­is­bury chem­i­cal weapons at­tack means fail­ure to re­spond to the “vile crime” be­lieved to have been car­ried out by the Saudis would be “hypocrisy of a very high or­der”.

He told BBC Ra­dio 4’s The World at One pro­gramme: “The point I, and many oth­ers, make to the Bri­tish Govern­ment is we should be a can­did friend for the king­dom of Saudi Ara­bia and not a craven friend. This is a very im­por­tant is­sue now where Bri­tain must re­act in an hon­ourable way and if we don’t there’s a very great risk to our own rep­u­ta­tion as well.”

Prince Mo­hammed said “no one is over­es­ti­mat­ing” the se­ri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion.

Pic­ture: AP.

Ja­mal Khashoggi.

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