Sanctions against Saudi would ‘rock the world’ says Saudi state owned press

Sanctions against Saudi would ‘rock the world’ says Saudi state owned press

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Monday ordered an internal probe into the unexplained disappearance of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a joint Turkish-Saudi team was set to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was last seen on October 2.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and Saudi citizen residing in the United States, vanished on October 2 after visiting the building to obtain official documents.

His disappearance has drawn worldwide condemnation and sparked warnings from US President Donald Trump on Saturday of "severe punishment" if the Saudis are found to be behind his death.

The U.S. administration increasingly regards Saudi Arabia's denial of any involvement in the journalist's disappearance as untenable, and Trump and his aides are more and more convinced that he died after entering the consulate, according to three U.S. officials who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Turkish authorities have said he was killed there, a claim that Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied.

The development comes after a Saudi delegation of a dozen officials arrived in Turkey while Saudi King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the weekend discussed the case in their first telephone talks on the controversy. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has also warned retaliation for sanctions against the Kingdom, as a response to Trump's comments. Trump also told reporters Saturday that there would be "very powerful" repercussions if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible.

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In an interview with "60 Minutes" airing Sunday, US President Donald Trump pledged "severe punishment" if the US concludes that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi, a US resident, and said that the incident is being investigated.

Media companies and some technology executives have pulled out of a major Saudi investment conference dubbed "Davos in the Desert", scheduled for next week in Riyadh, because of growing outrage over the disappearance. "We're going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment".

The US President said Friday he had not yet spoken with King Salman of Saudi Arabia - the father of bin Salman - in the wake of Khashoggi's reported killing, but that he planned to "pretty soon".

The Washington Post, to which Khashoggi contributed as a columnist, has said the Turkish government had told U.S. officials it had audio and video recordings showing how Khashoggi was "interrogated, tortured and then murdered" by a 15-member Saudi security team inside the consulate before his body was dismembered.

Cengiz, a doctoral student at a university in Istanbul, wrote: "If the allegations are true, and Jamal has been murdered by the errand boys of Mohammed bin Salman, he is already a martyr".

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