Khashoggi disappearance: UK and US may boycott conference in Saudi Arabia

London, Oct 14 (UNI) In the wake of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Britain and the US are contemplating to avoid attending a major international conference in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Khashoggi, an outspoken journalist and a vocal critic of the Saudi government, disappeared on 2 October, after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Some authorities in Istanbul said that the journalist was murdered there by Saudi agents, while Riyadh dismissed the claims as “lies”, according to a report in the BBC.

US President Donald Trump took a tough stand against the disappearance and commented that he would “punish” Saudi Arabia if it was responsible.

Following rising concerns about Mr Khashoggi, several sponsors and media groups decided to pull out of October’s investment conference in Riyadh.

A joint statement denouncing the act, if it is confirmed that Mr Khashoggi was assassinated by Saudi agents, is also in talks by the US and the European diplomats.

However, Mr Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, commented that words alone will not be good enough if the journalist has been murdered.

She added saying Saturday had been “Jamal’s birthday”.

US President Donald Trump said that Saudi Arabia would face “severe punishment” inflicted by the US, if the kingdom is found to be responsible for the death of the journalist.

He said he would be “very upset and angry if that were the case”, but denied the possibility of stopping big military contracts.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevut Cavusoglu, said Saudi Arabia had not yet cooperated with the investigation, despite a statement from the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz saying they wanted to uncover “the whole truth”.

Mr Cavusoglu has requested the kingdom to allow Turkish officials to enter the consulate.

Earlier, Turkish officials had said that Mr Khashoggi, who was a writer with the Washington Post, had been murdered inside the consulate.

Several reports also suggest that an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate to obtain some documents.