The Latest: Fox Business Network pulls out of Saudi meeting
The Latest on the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month (all times Eastern Daylight Time):
Fox Business Network is pulling out of a business conference in Saudi Arabia following an international outcry over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Fox Business Network has canceled its sponsorship and participation in the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia,” the network said in a written statement. “We continue to seek an interview with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.”
Several top executives have withdrawn from the conference dubbed “Davos in the Desert.” Among them are JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink and MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga.
Leading human rights and journalists’ organizations are urging U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to launch a U.N. investigation into the disappearance and “possible extrajudicial execution” of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders said at a news conference at the United Nations headquarters on Thursday that Turkey should press the U.N. to initiate a transparent investigation.
They say the investigation should probe Saudi Arabia’s role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and aim to identify everyone responsible for ordering, planning and executing any operations related to Khashoggi’s disappearance on Oct. 2.
Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: “U.N. involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh.”
President Vladimir Putin says Russia will wait for the outcome of a probe into the disappearance of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi before deciding what impact it may have on relations with Saudi Arabia.
Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudis’ Istanbul consulate, which Saudi officials have denied.
Speaking on Thursday at an international policy forum, Putin said “those who believe that there was a murder must present evidence.” He noted that “the disappearance was a tragedy, but we need to understand what happened” before deciding what impact it may have on Russia’s relations with Saudi Arabia.
Putin noted that “the U.S. bears a certain responsibility” for what happened to Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who went into self-imposed exile in the U.S.
Britain’s trade minister has pulled out of a Saudi investment conference over the kingdom’s involvement in the disappearance and alleged slaying of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is the latest high-level Western official to drop out of attending next week’s summit in Riyadh.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra have also canceled, along with several senior business executives.
Britain’s Department for International Trade says Fox “has decided the time is not right for him to attend the Future Investment Initiative.”
Britain says it is “very concerned” about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. Turkish officials say he was killed and dismembered there.
A pro-government Turkish newspaper has published surveillance video images showing a man who previously traveled with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage to the United States walking into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul before writer Jamal Khashoggi vanished there.
The Sabah newspaper’s reported on Thursday shows the man also later outside the Saudi consul general’s home, checking out of a Turkish hotel and leaving Turkey on Oct. 2.
Images shot by the Houston Chronicle later distributed by The Associated Press show the same man was in Prince Mohammed’s entourage when he visited a Houston subdivision in April to see rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey.
The AP couldn’t immediately verify the man’s identity. Saudi Arabia has not responded to repeated requests for comment from the AP over recent days, including Thursday.