US's Mnuchin to skip Saudi investment conference amid Khashoggi case

AFP Washington, USA Oct 18, 2018, 10.47 PM(IST)

File photo of Steven Mnuchin. Photograph:( Reuters )

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he will skip next week's Saudi investment summit, dealing another blow to Riyadh following the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia," Mnuchin announced on Twitter after meeting with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo had just returned from Saudi Arabia and briefed Trump on the status of the investigation into the journalist's disappearance in Turkey.

With Wall Street already teetering on Thursday, Mnuchin's announcement sent US stocks tumbling, adding to losses from a recent sell-off.

Prominent business partners of Saudi Arabia and investors, including companies with significant investment from Riyadh, have fled the conference since Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2 during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have told reporters of gruesome details of Khashoggi's alleged killing which they say were gathered by Turkish intelligence, tying officials with close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to the incident.

Khashoggi was a prominent political and human rights critic of the Saudi government who had been living in the United States.

While withholding judgment on the case, Trump and Pompeo in recent days have stressed the depth of US-Saudi cooperation in financial and counterterrorism matters stretching back for almost a century.