Thursday 04 June 2020

Dutch finance minister cancels visit to Saudi investment conference

Photo: Rijksoverheid

Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra has cancelled his visit to Saudia Arabia because of the probable murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Hoekstra was due to attend an investment conference in Riyadh next week and take part in a panel session. He hinted earlier this week that he may pull out of the event.

Last week Hoekstra said reports that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered inside the Saudi embassy were ‘very worrying’ and that he is following developments closely in consultation with the foreign affairs ministry.

The Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh is still going ahead, despite the ‘disappointing’ withdrawal of several guest and speakers, website Arab News reported earlier this week.

Several companies – ranging from Google and Uber, to banking giants JP Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse have pulled out, citing concerns about Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The Netherlands is due to send a trade mission to Saudi Arabia in December but foreign minister Stef Blok said on Thursday that given the seriousness of the claims, it may not be appropriate to let the mission go ahead at a political level.

Trade minister Sigrid Kaag is supposed to lead the delegation.

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