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'Serious consequences' for Saudi Arabia if Khashoggi murder allegations proven, British FM warns

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he has expressed concern to his Saudi counterpart [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 October, 2018

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British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has indicated that the UK will take action if suspicions that Riyadh killed Jamal Khashoggi are proven to be true.

Saudi Arabia faces "serious consequences" if suspicions that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed on Riyadh's orders are proven to be true, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned on Thursday.

The foreign secretary made the remarks amid growing pressure on Riyadh over the whereabouts of Khashoggi, who went missing while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Turkish sources have since alleged that the 59-year-old was killed on the orders of Riyadh by a hit squad sent from the kingdom.

"People who have long thought of themselves as Saudi's friends are saying this is a very, very serious matter," Hunt told AFP.

"If these allegations are true, there will be serious consequences because our friendships and our partnerships are based on shared values."

Hunt added that he has spoken to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and expressed "how very, very concerned the United Kingdom is".

The UK and Saudi Arabia are close allies and key trading partners, which has caused UK Prime Minister Theresa May to come under sustained criticism over multi-billion dollar arms sales to Riyadh.

Jamal Khashoggi went missing during a visit
to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul [Facebook]


On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump broke his silence over the Khashoggi case, saying the he had spoken to the Saudi leadership.

"This is a bad situation," Trump said, after largely avoding the subject, but has come under pressure from leading Republicans such as Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham to speak out.

"We're demanding everything. We want to see what's going on there," he said.

The president added that he would invite Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, to the White House to meet him, after she called for Trump to get involved in the matter. 

Amid growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, businesses and individuals have also had to reconsider involvement with the kingdom. 

The case has so far caused the New York Times to withdraw from an upcoming conference in Riyadh and a former US energy secretary to suspend his role in a multi-billion dollar Saudi project.

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