Canada, Germany and France threatening measures against Saudi Arabia

Several Western countries say they are not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s explanation of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Germany is even threatening economic repercussions. According to the Saudis, Khashoggi died during a ‘fight’ in the consulate, where he got papers in order.

Canada called the explanation of Saudi Arabia “neither credible nor coherent”. “We repeat our demand for an in-depth investigation, in full cooperation with the Turkish authorities,” said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Previously, EU foreign representative Federica Mogherini had already demanded a thorough investigation.

Germany goes a step further and hints, unlike US President Trump at a stop on arms exports to Saudi Arabia. “There are so many questions and I cannot imagine that there is a positive basis within the German government to approve arms exports to Saudi Arabia”, said foreign minister Heiko Maas on Saturday evening on the German TV channel ARD.

In the US, US President Donald Trump does not want to go that far. He repeated today that he expects more explanation from Saudi Arabia. Trump still considers it “possible” that the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman really knew nothing. Trump still says he is considering penalties but thinks arms contracts will “hurt us more than they do”.

In France, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian sent out a separate press release stating that the confirmation of the death of Jamal Khashoggi is “a first step” to discover the truth. “But many questions remain unanswered. Expectations are high, because both our countries are strategic allies, which requires openness and transparency.”

Rising diplomatic pressure
The diplomatic pressure increases after the recent days in the Turkish press new elements have emerged that are damaging for Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi would not only have been murdered in the Turkish consulate, but also tortured. The research is continuing. For example, a large forest in the vicinity of Istanbul is being searched.

Ankara says that in due course it will reveal “everything” about the fate of the journalist.

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
©AP Jamal Khashoggi has been without trace since October 2. Presumably the man was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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