Saudis re­ject Trump’s threats

The Palm Beach Post - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Jon Gam­brell

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Saudi Ara­bia on Sun­day threat­ened to re­tal­i­ate for any sanc­tions im­posed against it af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said the oil-rich king­dom de­serves “se­vere pun­ish­ment” if it is re­spon­si­ble for the disappearance and sus­pected slay­ing of Wash­ing­ton Post con­trib­u­tor Ja­mal Khashoggi.

The warn­ing from the world’s top oil ex­porter came af­ter a tur­bu­lent day on the Saudi stock ex­change, which plunged as much as 7 per­cent at one point.

The state­ment was issued as in­ter­na­tional con­cern grew over the writer who van­ished on a visit to the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul over a week ago. Amer­i­can law­mak­ers threat­ened tough puni­tive ac­tion against the Saudis, and Ger­many, France and Bri­tain jointly called for a “cred­i­ble in­ves­ti­ga­tion” into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Turk­ish of­fi­cials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dis­mem­bered Khashoggi, who wrote crit­i­cally of Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man. The king­dom has called such al­le­ga­tions “base­less” but has not of­fered any ev­i­dence Khashoggi ever left the con­sulate.

Al­ready, in­ter­na­tional busi­ness lead­ers are pulling out of the king­dom’s up­com­ing in­vest­ment fo­rum, a high-pro­file event known as “Davos in the Desert,” and the sell-off on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock ex­change showed that in­vestors are un­easy.

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