"Total has never been in favor of sanctions and isolation — for example, against Russia, Iran or Qatar — and nor do we support boycotts. I have made this point clear on many occasions on behalf of Total and we have consistently maintained that stance. Total believes it is preferable to engage in frank, assertive dialogue, in which we make our values clear, with our partner countries… In keeping with the commitments we have made, out of respect for the leaders of a company I deeply esteem and in recognition of our long, shared history, I will attend the forum in Riyadh," Pouyanne said in a statement on the company's website.
"Western companies have a key role to play in this area through their presence in a country. I am convinced that an 'empty chairs at the table' strategy serves no useful purpose, especially when it comes to respect for Human rights," the Total CEO said.
Pouyanne said that he was invited to the forum by the Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Falih.
"I had told the minister — a very honorable man I have known for a long time — that I would attend, and I wish to fulfill that commitment," he added.
Khashoggi, known for his criticism of Saudi policies, has recently been working as a columnist for The Washington Post. The journalist was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
After Khashoggi's disappearance and subsequent confirmation of his death, many businessmen and media representatives that planned to participate in the FII forum, which will be held in Riyadh on October 23-25, refused to attend the event. According to media reports, among them are JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Siemens AG CEO Joe Kaeser, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.