• UK FM Hunt bashes Saudis over fate of missing Saudi journalist

In a rare British challenge to Riyadh, the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has asked Saudi Arabia for answers over the disappearance in Turkey of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was last seen visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, and Turkey says he may have been murdered there. However, this suggestion has been strongly denied by the Saudis.

According to Press TV, in a phone call to Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Jeremy Hunt warned Saudi Arabia that its friendship with the UK depends on “shared values,” after he demanded answers over the claims.

Hunt tweeted a message after meeting the Saudi ambassador to London, Mohammed bin Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz, on Tuesday.

Just met the Saudi ambassador to seek urgent answers over Jamal Khashoggi. Violence against journalists worldwide is going up & is a grave threat to freedom of expression. If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously - friendships depend on shared values.

— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) October 9, 2018

It was the second time in two days that the ambassador had been questioned by the Foreign Office about what the Saudi royal family may know about the disappearance of one of the highest-profile critics of the Saudi leadership.

The ambassador discussed the incident with the Permanent Secretary to the Foreign Office, Sir Simon McDonald, on Monday.

The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia have long been close allies.

In March Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the UK and signed a raft of business deals. During the visit the two nations launched the UK-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council, which involves £65 billion mutual trade and investment to be spread across sectors including finance, education, health care, renewable energy and defense.

But Britain also has good relations with Turkey. Last year it doubled its export finance program to Turkey to £3.5bn. With Britain about to leave the European Union, London is desperately seeking to boost trade and investment with Turkey to compensate for the expected loss of trade within Europe once barriers rise between them.

ME

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Oct 11, 2018 07:16 UTC
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