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Ford Motor Head Cancels Trip to Riyadh in Wake of Khashoggi Disappearance

© Sputnik / Anton Denisov / Go to the mediabankFord Motor Co
Ford Motor Co - Sputnik International
Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford canceled a business trip to the Middle East, including a planned appearance at an investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month, Reuters reported Sunday.

According to a company statement cited by Reuters, the US-based auto manufacturing giant did not elaborate on Ford's decision to not attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, and did not comment on whether concerns about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi were a factor.

(FILES) A flat-bed truck carrying a US M-1A Abrams tank passes a group of camels in this file photo taken 03 February 1991 in the Saudi Arabian desert - Sputnik International
A Look Into US-Saudi Defense Deals at Stake as Spat Over Khashoggi Deepens
A Future Investment Initiative forum spokesperson said Saturday that the event would be held on schedule despite the refusal of a number of guests to participate, amid the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

On Friday, media reports noted that Future Investment Initiative's high-profile media sponsors, including the Financial Times, CNBC, The New York Times, CNN and Bloomberg, had withdrawn from the event in the wake of Khashoggi's alleged murder.

British Tycoon Richard Branson said Thursday that his company Virgin Galactic put on hold negotiations about investments in two of his space companies until a probe into the missing journalist has been completed.

READ MORE: Turkey Claims it Possesses Video Proving Jamal Khashoggi Was Killed

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Khashoggi was a Saudi insider. He rubbed shoulders with the Saudi royal family and supported its efforts to nudge the entrenched ultraconservative clerics to accept reforms. He was a close aide to the kingdom’s former spy chief and was a leading voice in the country’s prominent dailies - Sputnik International
US Senators Urge Trump to Explore Sanctions Against Saudi Arabia Over Khashoggi
Khashoggi, a former Riyadh insider who was working for The Washington Post newspaper and has been a vocal critic of the Saudi monarchy, went missing in Turkey on October 2. According to his fiancee, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul and never came out.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Turkish authorities shared audio and video recordings with United States intelligence suggesting that the journalist had been murdered in the Saudi consulate. Riyadh denied any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, claiming that the journalist left the consulate of his own accord.

The United Kingdom, Germany and France have called for a 'credible' probe to establish the truth about what happened to the missing journalist. US President Donald Trump threatened on Saturday to "punish" Riyadh if it were proven to be behind the suspected killing.

READ MORE: UK Drafting Saudi Sanctions List in Wake of Khashoggi Disappearance — Reports

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