Saudi Arabia is facing pressure from the international community after the Washington Post journalist went missing after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey on 2 October

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on October 15, 2018

Khashoggi had been an outspoken critic of the Saudi government. There have been reports he was tortured and murdered.

Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement in his disappearance.

US President Donald Trump said he would “punish” the nation if it was found to be responsible for his death.

The Foreign Ministers of the UK, France and Germany issued a joint statement calling for a full and credible investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The US is also thought to be working on a joint statement with European leaders.

“Where is Jamal Khashoggi? That’s what the world wants to know”

“We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response,” wrote Jeremy Hunt, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas said in the statement.

“Defending freedom of expression and a free press and ensuring the protection of journalists are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France,” the statement continues. “In this spirit, light must be shed on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi”.

Hunt later said the onus was now on Saudi Arabia. “If, as they say, this terrible murder didn’t happen, then where is Jamal Khashoggi? That’s what the world wants to know,” he said.

The UK and the US are among countries considering boycotting an international investment conference to be held in Saudi Arabia later in October. The event, sometimes known as ‘Davos in the Desert’, is being hosted by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.

A number of influential companies and executives have already withdrawn. CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Ariana Huffington and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim are among those who have pulled out of the event.

Richard Branson putting his Saudi Arabian spaceflight project on hold

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson has also suspended his company’s partnership with Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s disappearance. The company, along with related companies, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit, had previously secured US$1 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

In a blog post, Branson wrote he had “high hopes” for a working partnership with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The project aimed to develop and test a spaceplane for Virgin Galactic which would take tourists into space for recreational trips.

“What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi Government,” he wrote.

Another high-tech project earmarked for Saudi Arabia, the futuristic zero-emission city of NEOM, is also on hold. Dan Doctoroff amd Tim Brown, CEOs of Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labd and IDEO respectively were both members of its advisory board but have since confirmed they will not be working with Saudi Arabia, at least until the circumstances of Khashoggi’s disappearance become clear.

Saudi shares were down 7% on Sunday trading, the biggest drop since 2014, as investors braced for an international backlash against the country.