Saudi Arabia vows to retaliate if punished over missing critic
Saudi Arabia warned it would retaliate against any sanctions imposed on the oil-rich kingdom over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as more Western companies distanced themselves from the Gulf State.
US President Donald Trump has threatened the kingdom with “severe punishment” if Khashoggi, who has been critical of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside its Istanbul mission.
But Riyadh vowed to hit back on Sunday against any punitive measures as its stock market tumbled, with the fallout from the crisis threatening to imperil Prince Mohammed’s much-hyped economic reform drive.
“The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure,” an official said, according to state news agency SPA.
The official said Riyadh would “respond to any action with a bigger one,” pointing out that the oil superpower “plays an effective and vital role in the world economy”.
According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television, the kingdom has “over 30 measures” it could implement.
Following Riyadh’s assertion it would retaliate, Britain, France and Germany released a joint statement saying they were treating Khashoggi’s disappearance “with the utmost seriousness.”
“There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and – if relevant – to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account.”
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