Saudi Arabia rejected Saturday’s threats of economic sanctions and political pressure, what it described as “attempts to undermine the kingdom”. The government faces worldwide controversy over an alleged murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.
“The kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action,” a statement by the foreign ministry declared, adding that the Saudi economy stands powerful, influencing global economy, and could only be impacted by global economic changes.
On 2 October, Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the Saudi leadership and a columnist for The Washington Post, was reported missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. His fiancée said he never made it out, before reports attributed to unnamed Turkish security officials suspected he was tortured and murdered by a Saudi hit squad.
The Saudis dismissed such suggestions, considering it a “campaign of false allegations and falsehoods,” in Saturday’s statement, which nevertheless did not mention Khashoggi.
The recent statement follows US President Donald Trump’s threats of “severe punishment” in the event it is proven that the Saudi government had ordered the journalist’s killing.
The Washington Post quoted some US and Turkish officials saying that the recordings included evidence that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi upon his arrival to the consulate headquarters, and then killed him.
Before travelling to self-exile in the US in 2017, Khashoggi, 60, was a Saudi royalist who was close to members of the ruling family, and worked as a media advisor for some of them. However, during recent months, he displayed some criticism for Saudi policies.
He has been working for over thirty years in journalism, covering several conflicts and was one of the first who interviewed the late leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.
The US and the UK are also considering boycotting a major economic conference, the BBC reported Saturday. Several international sponsors have already withdrawn from the Future Investment Initiative, scheduled to take place this month in Riyadh.
The kingdom’s statement came after the exchange Riyadh market dropped by 7% at one point with 182 of its 186 listed stocks showing losses by early afternoon, Reuters reported.