UK threatens Saudi Arabia with ‘serious consequences’ if claims about missing journalist are true
Foreign secretary said Britain was ‘very, very concerned’ about the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, who has not been seen since October 2
Britain’s foreign secretary on Thursday warned that Saudi Arabia faces “serious consequences” if the suspicions of Turkish officials that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul turn out to be true.
“People who have long thought of themselves as Saudi’s friends are saying this is a very, very serious matter,” Jeremy Hunt said. “If these allegations are true, there will be serious consequences because our friendships and our partnerships are based on shared values. We are extremely worried.”
Hunt said he spoke to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and told him “how very, very concerned the United Kingdom is”.
Britain is a close ally and trade partner of Saudi Arabia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Saudi Arabia to release footage of Khashoggi and prove he really did leave the building.
US President Donald Trump has also demanded answers over his fate.
“We’re being very tough and we have investigators over there and we’re working with Turkey, and frankly we’re working with Saudi Arabia. We want to find out what happened,” Trump told Fox & Friends programme on Fox News on Thursday.
The Washington Post, the daily to which Khashoggi was a contributor, reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to “lure” the critical journalist back home.
Khashoggi has not been seen since October 2 when he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain official documents for his upcoming marriage. Turkish officials quoted in media have said he was killed but Riyadh denies that.
The mystery has captivated the world but also threatens to harm brittle Turkish-Saudi relations and hurt efforts by the crown prince to improve the image of his country with a reform drive.