09:55 GMT19 January 2021
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    In an interview with CBS, US President Donald Trump pledged "to get to the bottom" of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warning that if it turns out that Saudi authorities are behind all this, the US would inflict "severe punishment" on them.

    Saudi Arabia has rejected "any attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure," an official source was quoted by the country's state-run news agency SPA as saying.

    "The kingdom also affirms that it will respond to any action with a bigger one," the source pointed out.

    READ MORE: Saudi Delegation Arrives in Ankara for Probe Into Missing Journalist — Reports

    The source also referred to the Saudi economy, saying it "has vital and influential roles for the global economy."

    Several hours later, Saudi Arabia thanked Washington for not rushing to conclusions as the probe continues into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends its appreciation to all, including the US administration, for refraining from jumping to conclusions on the ongoing investigation," its US embassy tweeted.

    Shortly before that, UK, German and French foreign ministers issued a joint statement, calling to identify and punish those responsible for the suspected killing of the Saudi government’s critic, who Turkish officials said they believed was killed within the consulate’s walls on October 2.

    Washington Vows to Punish Saudis

    The remarks came after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose "severe punishment" on Saudi Arabia if it turns out that Riyadh is behind the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    At the same time, he emphasized that Riyadh has been "vehemently denying" the allegations of its involvement in the Khashoggi case.

    READ MORE: Trump Says Has Spoken to Saudi Officials About Disappeared Journalist Khashoggi

    Earlier, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top senators penned a letter to Trump pressing him to consider imposing sanctions "with respect to any foreign person responsible for such a violation related to Mr. Khashoggi."

    "The recent disappearance of […] Khashoggi suggests that he could be the victim of a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights," the senators wrote.

    READ MORE: Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to Be Searched After Journalist Disappears — Ankara

    They added that it may include "torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and another flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or security of person."

    Meanwhile, the BBC reported that due to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, London and Washington are considering boycotting this month's investment conference in Riyadh, dubbed Davos in the Desert and hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda.

    READ MORE: US Firms Worry Saudi Arms Deals Can Be Frozen Over Missing Journalist – Reports

    The BBC cited diplomatic sources as saying that the conference might not be attended by US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

    On Saturday, it was reported that the UK Foreign Office plans to slap sanctions on a number of Saudi security and government organizations pending the results of the probe into the high-profile Khashoggi case.

    Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, has been missing since October 2, when he visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage.


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    journalist, punishment, attempts, pressure, sanctions, Jamal Khashoggi, US, Saudi Arabia
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