Now, Dutch Finance Minister skips Saudi summit over missing journalist Khashoggi

AFP The Hague, Netherlands Oct 18, 2018, 05.15 PM(IST)

Jamal Khashoggi. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Wopke Hoekstra's withdrawal from the October 23-25 Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh — dubbed the 'Davos in the Desert' — follows that of French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

The Dutch finance minister has pulled out of a big investment conference in Saudi Arabia over the "very serious" disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the government said Thursday.

Wopke Hoekstra's withdrawal from the October 23-25 Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh -- dubbed the "Davos in the Desert" -- follows that of French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and IMF chief Christine Lagarde.

Also read: Washington Post publishes Jamal Khashoggi's 'last piece'

"The disappearance of #Khashoggi is a very serious matter. Saudi Arabia has not yet been able to provide any clarification," Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said as he announced the decision on Twitter.

"That is why we decided @WBHoekstra will not travel to Riyadh today. The Netherlands stands for press freedom, worldwide."

An array of policy-makers and corporate chiefs have already pulled out of the conference in Saudi Arabia, risking the loss of lucrative business with the kingdom.

Khashoggi, who was living in self-imposed exile in the United States where he contributed to the Washington Post, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

He was critical of some of Saudi Arabia's policies.

Turkish officials claim he was killed and dismembered in the consulate by a hit squad which arrived from Riyadh -- claims denied by the Saudi government.