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Saudi Arabia vows response if Khashoggi case triggers sanctions

Riyadh has fired back at threats of economics consequences coming from the US.

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it would retaliate to possible economic sanctions taken by other states over the case of Jamal Khashoggi, state news agency SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia has been under pressure since Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), and a US resident, disappeared on October 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The kingdom confirms that if any action is taken against it, it will respond to it by a greater action," SPA quoted an unnamed official as saying.

"The kingdom confirms its categorical rejection of any threats and attempts to harm it by threatening to impose economic sanctions or the exercise of political pressure," the official continued, adding that the Saudi economy is "vital and influential" in the global economy.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump vowed "severe punishment" for the Saudis if evidence arises proving they had a role in Khashoggi's disappearance, though he said he would not stop billion-dollar arms sales to Riyadh.

A growing number of business figures and companies have said they will boycott an important investor conference in Saudi Arabia later this month in reaction to Khashoggi's disappearance.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, English investor Richard Branson and Uber's Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi are among high-profile individuals who have cancelled their trips to Riyadh.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin still plans to attend the so-called "Davos in the Desert" conference in Riyadh, despite the controversy, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

"Mr Mnuchin will make up his mind as the week progresses and as new information surfaces," Kudlow said on US network ABC's "This Week" show on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, the BBC reported that Mnuchin, and the UK's International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, may not attend the upcoming "Davos in the Desert" gathering, over concerns that Saudi Arabia is responsible for Khashoggi's reported death.

The conference is part of MBS's ambitious "2030" programme to make the kingdom less reliant on oil.


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