PRES­SURE MOUNTS FOR SAUDI ARA­BIA TO EX­PLAIN KHASHOGGI DIS­AP­PEAR­ANCE

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

Ankara says it has au­dio and video ev­i­dence Khashoggi was slain in­side Saudi con­sulate

Turkey’s govern­ment has told U.S. of­fi­cials it has au­dio and video proof that miss­ing Saudi Ara­bian writer Ja­mal Khashoggi was killed and dis­mem­bered in the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported late on Thurs­day.

The news­pa­per, for which Mr. Khashoggi is a colum­nist, cited anony­mous of­fi­cials as say­ing the record­ings show a Saudi se­cu­rity team de­tained the writer when he went to the con­sulate on Oct. 2 to pick up a doc­u­ment for his up­com­ing wed­ding. The As­so­ci­ated Press was not im­me­di­ately able to con­firm the re­port, and Turk­ish of­fi­cials would not com­ment.

Late on Fri­day, Reuters re­ported that Saudi Ara­bia de­nied al­le­ga­tions re­gard­ing the mur­der of Mr. Khashoggi. The Saudi In­te­rior Min­is­ter said al­le­ga­tions about or­ders to mur­der Mr. Khashoggi were “lies” tar­get­ing the govern­ment, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial Saudi Press Agency.

The Turk­ish govern­ment’s claim comes as global busi­ness lead­ers are re­assess­ing their ties with Saudi Ara­bia, stok­ing pres­sure on the Gulf king­dom to ex­plain what hap­pened to Mr. Khashoggi.

Mr. Trudeau also said Canada has “se­ri­ous is­sues” around re­ports about Mr. Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance, adding there is still more to learn be­fore he’ll com­ment fur­ther.

Mean­while, a del­e­ga­tion from Saudi Ara­bia ar­rived in Turkey as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the writer’s dis­ap­pear­ance, Turkey’s state-run news out­let Anadolu Agency said.

Saudi Ara­bia has called the al­le­ga­tion it ab­ducted or harmed Mr. Khashoggi “base­less.” How- ever, it has of­fered no ev­i­dence to sup­port its claim he left the con­sulate and van­ished, de­spite his fi­ancée wait­ing out­side.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the del­e­ga­tion would hold talks with Turk­ish of­fi­cials over the week­end. It did not pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

On Thurs­day, Turk­ish pres­i­den­tial spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Turkey and Saudi Ara­bia would form a “joint work­ing group” to look into Mr. Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

A Saudi source also said a se­nior royal, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, vis­ited Turkey on Thurs­day for talks. Later the same day, Turkey said, the two coun­tries had agreed to form a joint work­ing group – at Riyadh’s ini­tia­tive – to in­ves­ti­gate the case.

On Fri­day, Bri­tish bil­lion­aire Richard Bran­son sus­pended busi­ness links with Saudi Ara­bia, and Uber chief ex­ec­u­tive Dara Khos­row­shahi said he might not at­tend a ma­jor in­vest­ment con­fer­ence in the coun­try this month.

“What has re­port­edly hap­pened in Turkey around the dis­ap­pear­ance of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the abil­ity of any of us in the West to do busi­ness with the Saudi govern­ment,” Mr. Bran­son said in a state­ment.

Mr. Bran­son, founder of Vir­gin Group, says he will sus­pend his role as direc­tor in two tourism projects in Saudi Ara­bia while an in­ves­ti­ga­tion takes place. He also is putting on hold dis­cus­sions about a pro­posed Saudi in­vest­ment in space com­pa­nies Vir­gin Ga­lac­tic and Vir­gin Or­bit.

Mr. Khos­row­shahi is sched­uled to speak at the Fu­ture In­vest­ment Ini­tia­tive (FII) con­fer­ence, an event loosely nick­named the “Davos of the Desert” that takes place Oct. 23-25 in the Saudi cap­i­tal of Riyadh.

“I’m very trou­bled by the re­ports to date about Ja­mal Khashoggi,” Mr. Khos­row­shahi said. “We are fol­low­ing the sit­u­a­tion closely, and un­less a sub­stan­tially dif­fer­ent set of facts emerges, I won’t be at­tend­ing the FII con­fer­ence in Riyadh.”

The in­vest­ment con­fer­ence lists dozens of ex­pected speak­ers, in­clud­ing JPMor­gan Chase CEO Jamie Di­mon, Black­rock chair­man Larry Fink and U.S. Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin, the lat­ter con­firm­ing on Fri­day that he will go.

Joe Kaeser, the pres­i­dent and CEO of Ger­man in­dus­trial gi­ant Siemens AG, also still plans to at­tend for now.

The Fi­nan­cial Times, which is listed as a me­dia part­ner to the event, an­nounced it would no longer be do­ing so. Bloomberg also said it would no longer serve as a me­dia part­ner, although it planned to cover the event.

CNN can­celled its part­ner­ship and said its an­chors and re­porters would no longer mod­er­ate pan­els. The New York Times and its busi­ness colum­nist An­drew Ross Sorkin sim­i­larly pulled out of the event. CNBC also said Fri­day it would not par­tic­i­pate.

Mr. Trudeau said Canada has been en­gaged in a sig­nif­i­cant diplo­matic ef­fort on hu­man rights with Saudi Ara­bia for many years, in­clud­ing in his own con­ver­sa­tion last spring with King Sal­man.

“We have been ex­tremely ac­tive both in pri­vate and in pub­lic over many years now around our con­cern for hu­man rights in Saudi Ara­bia, and we will con­tinue to be clear and strong in speak­ing up for hu­man rights around the world re­gard­less of with whom,” Mr. Trudeau told re­porters to­day at la Fran­co­phonie’s bi­en­nial sum­mit in Ar­me­nia.

The con­tro­versy comes af­ter Canada’s own dis­pute with the Saudis, trig­gered when For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land called for the im­me­di­ate re­lease of de­tained ac­tivists, in­clud­ing Sa­mar Badawi, a cham­pion of women’s rights and the sis­ter of de­tained blog­ger Raif Badawi.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron is de­mand­ing “the whole truth” about the dis­ap­pear­ance of Mr. Khashoggi, call­ing the early de­tails about the case “very wor­ry­ing.”

Hat­ice Cen­giz, the fi­ancée of the miss­ing Saudi jour­nal­ist, on Fri­day urged U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to use his clout to find out what hap­pened to her part­ner.

Fol­low­ing a Turk­ish court’s de­ci­sion to free Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cal pas­tor, Mr. Trump tweeted: “Work­ing very hard on Pas­tor (An­drew) Brun­son!”

That prompted Ms. Cen­giz to ask about her miss­ing fi­ancée.

“What about Ja­mal Khashoggi?” she tweeted.

Speak­ing to re­porters, Mr. Trump said he saw no rea­son to block Saudi pur­chases of U.S. arms or its in­vest­ments in the United States de­spite the jour­nal­ist’s case, say­ing the Gulf na­tion would just move its money into Rus­sia and China.

OZAN KOSE/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

Protesters hold a por­trait of miss­ing jour­nal­ist and Riyadh critic Ja­mal Khashoggi dur­ing a demon­stra­tion in front of the Saudi Ara­bian con­sulate on Tues­day in Is­tan­bul.

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