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1ST LEAD Saudi team in Turkey for talks on Khashoggi disappearance By Anindita Ramaswamy and Pol O Gradaigh, dpa

Europe
12.10.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul/Paris (dpa) - A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey on Friday, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported, in connection with the investigation into missing Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi team landed in Ankara amid increasing global pressure on the kingdom to clarify his fate. It expected to meet Turkish authorities at the weekend, Anadolu reported without providing details.

Saudi-owned television Al Arabiya said the talks would focus on unravelling circumstances of Khashoggi‘s disappearance.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s spokesman on Thursday said Ankara and Riyadh would jointly investigate what happened to Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, who has not been seen since October 2.

That‘s the day he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to deal with paperwork required to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Saudi Arabia claims Khashoggi left the premises and then went missing, while some Turkish authorities have alleged that he was killed inside the premises.

His mysterious disappearance has triggered international outcry, with several world leaders demanding that Saudi Arabia provide answers on his fate.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said Khashoggi‘s disappearance is "very serious."

"I expect that complete clarity and truth be established," Macron told France24 television and RFI radio after a summit of French-speaking nations in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

The French president said he had not yet spoken to Erdogan, Saudi King Salman or the powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the affair. "I certainly will in the coming days," he said.

But he ruled out any immediate change to France‘s friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, saying that he would wait for the facts to be established and "analysed and verified by our services."

Saudi Arabia has been one of the biggest customers for the French arms industry in recent years, taking delivery of some 6.6 billion euros (7.6 billion dollars) worth of weapons since 2012, according to an official report to the French parliament this year.

Macron insisted that France‘s relationship with Saudi Arabia was based on mutual strategic interests rather than commercial considerations.

Khashoggi, 59, is a sharp critic of the young Saudi heir apparent. 

He has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since last year "over concerns that he would be arrested or prevented from travelling" by Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post said.

The 33-year-old Saudi crown prince is believed to have championed bold reforms in the conservative monarchy including the lifting of a decades-old ban on women driving.

However, Saudi authorities have recently arrested several leading activists, a clampdown that has raised questions over reforms there and drawn criticism from global rights groups.

 

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