France’s finance minister to stay away from ‘Davos in the desert’
Many delegates have decided not to attend amid controversy over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
France’s finance minister is the latest high-level official or executive to pull out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia amid questions over the kingdom’s involvement in the disappearance of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Bruno Le Maire said on French TV channel Public Senat that “I will not go to Riyadh next week” for the conference known as Davos in the desert.
Several top business executives have also cancelled their plans to attend, as has the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.
Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra also cancelled, after discussing the issue with Mr Le Maire, the Dutch foreign minister said.
Stef Blok wrote that a Dutch trade mission planned for December to Saudi Arabia also likely will not go ahead.
Mr Le Maire said the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi is “serious” and facts about it need to be explained by Saudi authorities.
Turkish officials say Mr Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Saudi officials have denied the allegations as “baseless”, but have not provided evidence of the writer leaving the diplomatic mission alive.
Mr Le Maire added his decision on the investment conference does not call into question the strategic partnership between France and Saudi Arabia.