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article imageMnuchin to decide Thursday if attending Saudi conference

By AFP     Oct 17, 2018 in World

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will decide on Thursday whether he will attend an investment conference in Riyadh that has been boycotted by global business leaders concerned about the fate of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.

Two weeks after The Washington Post contributor disappeared at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, titans of finance and industry, as well as major media groups, have withdrawn from next week's Future Investment Initiative organized by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

On Saturday, on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund meetings in Bali, Mnuchin expressed "concern for Mr Khashoggi and his family" but said he still planned to attend the Saudi conference known as the "Davos in the Desert."

"The answer is for now I am" still going, Mnuchin said, adding that if more information came out he would take it into consideration.

Asked about the matter at a press conference on Wednesday, Mnuchin said: "We're going to revisit the decision again tomorrow."

He said a decision will be taken "based on Secretary Pompeo's report."

Mike Pompeo, the top US diplomat, held talks with Turkey's leaders in Ankara on Wednesday over the Khashoggi case.

He arrived there from Riyadh where, he said, the Saudis "made a commitment that they would show the entire world the results of their investigation."

Under growing pressure Saudi Arabia, a major buyer of US weapons, has denied knowledge of the fate of Khashoggi who had lived in self-exile in the United States since last year.

Pro-government Turkish media have published allegations purporting to confirm that Khashoggi was not only murdered by Saudi agents in their consulate in Istanbul, but tortured and dismembered.

Among those who have pulled out of the Riyadh conference are IMF chief Christine Lagarde, HSBC chief executive John Flint, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

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