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G20 summit: MbS faces world leaders amid Khashoggi controversy

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman meets India's Narendra Modi at G20 [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 November, 2018

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Trade deals and climate change are on the G20 agenda, but eyes are on the sidelines as Saudi Arabia's MbS meets Western leaders for the first time since Khashoggi's killing.

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G20, MbS, Trump,
G20 powers have descended on Argentina for two days of talks, dominated by US President Donald Trump's efforts to realign world trade, while eyes swing to the sidelines where Western leaders will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for the first time since Jamal Khashoggi's killing.

Saudi Arabia's defacto ruler arrived in Argentina on Wednesday, bidding to shrug off international outrage over the 2 October murder of Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. 

However French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May are poised to talk with MbS, as he is known, with both European leaders indicating they would address the journalist's killing, as well as the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

On Friday MbS met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the prince's residence in Buenos Aires, where they discussed security, energy and investments, the Saudi press agency said.

Climate change and a US-China trade deal are also on the agenda at the meeting bringing together the leaders of the 20 most industrialised nations.

Shortly before the summit kicks off, Trump's successor to the North American free trade pact NAFTA, called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), will be signed in Buenos Aires between senior trade negotiators from the three countries.

After imposing punishing tariffs on Chinese goods and threatening more to come in January, Trump also has China in his sights as he prepares to meet President Xi Jinping on the G20 margins.

An array of bilateral meetings by the leaders attending is set to take place, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of the leaders due to sit down with Trump on Friday. But she will miss the  summit's opening after her plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Cologne due to a technical problem.

Her temporary absence could complicate Macron's attempts to build a European front against Trump at a meeting of EU leaders attending the G20 on Friday morning.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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