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Friday 14 December 2018

G20 Summit: Rifts laid bare as world leaders step up pressure on Saudi Arabia

World leaders participate in a family photo at the G20 summit, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
World leaders participate in a family photo at the G20 summit, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto sign documents during the USMCA signing ceremony before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
World leaders gather for a group photo at the start of the G20 Leader's Summit at the Costa Salguero Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Front, from left, are South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, France's President Emmanuel Macron, and Senegal's President Macky Sall. Center, from left, are European Council's President Donald Tusk and Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Top, from left, are Mark Carney, President Chair of the Financial Stability Board and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. (Andres Martinez Casares/Pool Photo via AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, left, France's President Emmanuel Macron, center, and President Donald Trump gather for the family photo of the G20 Leader's Summit at the Costa Salguero Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are seen during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the opening of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018 in this picture taken from video. Reuters TV Summit Pool via REUTERS
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the opening of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018 in this picture taken from video. Reuters TV Summit Pool via REUTERS
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks down as leaders arrive for a family photo at the G20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and Argentina's President Mauricio Macri meet during the G20 Leader's Summit at the Costa Salguero Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Demonstrators march during the Group 20 summit, in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
U.S. President Donald Trump is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

French President Emmanuel Macron has stepped up pressure on Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by telling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that international experts need to be involved in the investigation into his death.

Mr Macron's demand came shortly before Theresa May held face-to-face talks with the crown prince in which she promised to send a "robust" message about the murder, as well as the war in Yemen.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto sign documents during the USMCA signing ceremony before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto sign documents during the USMCA signing ceremony before the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
World leaders gather for a group photo at the start of the G20 Leader's Summit at the Costa Salguero Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Front, from left, are South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, France's President Emmanuel Macron, and Senegal's President Macky Sall. Center, from left, are European Council's President Donald Tusk and Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Top, from left, are Mark Carney, President Chair of the Financial Stability Board and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. (Andres Martinez Casares/Pool Photo via AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, left, France's President Emmanuel Macron, center, and President Donald Trump gather for the family photo of the G20 Leader's Summit at the Costa Salguero Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
World leaders participate in a family photo at the G20 summit, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are seen during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the opening of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018 in this picture taken from video. Reuters TV Summit Pool via REUTERS
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the opening of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018 in this picture taken from video. Reuters TV Summit Pool via REUTERS
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks down as leaders arrive for a family photo at the G20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and Argentina's President Mauricio Macri meet during the G20 Leader's Summit at the Costa Salguero Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Demonstrators march during the Group 20 summit, in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
U.S. President Donald Trump is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri as he arrives for the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks out as leaders arrive for a family photo at the G20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
First lady Melania Trump, left center, and Argentina's first lady Juliana Awada, pose for a photo during a visit of partners of the Group of 20 leaders, at the Villa Ocampo cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Pani)

Mohammed has appeared isolated among fellow world leaders at the G20 summit in Argentina, with the exception of a vigorous public handshake from Russia's Vladimir Putin - himself treated as a pariah by some of those present.

The crown prince was filmed in an apparently tense conversation with Mr Macron, telling the French president not to worry.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the opening of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018 in this picture taken from video. Reuters TV Summit Pool via REUTERS
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the opening of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018 in this picture taken from video. Reuters TV Summit Pool via REUTERS

Mr Macron responded: "I am worried...You never listen to me."

The widely-shared video showed bin Salman replying: "I will listen, of course." It concluded with Mr Macron saying: "I am a man of my word."

Later, an Elysee Palace official said the president had conveyed a "very firm" message on the need for international involvement in the Khashoggi investigation, currently the subject of two separate probes by Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Mrs May said she would use her meeting to press Britain's call for a credible and transparent investigation into Mr Khashoggi's death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October and urge Mohammed to ensure his country offers full co-operation to the Turkish investigation.

Mrs May was also pressing the Crown Prince to ensure his country's engagement in talks in Stockholm next week to find a political solution to the bloodshed in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Houthi rebels.

Amnesty International UK's director Kate Allen said Mrs May should "politely but firmly insist that only a UN investigation into the grisly murder of Jamal Khashoggi is going to be sufficient".

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks out as leaders arrive for a family photo at the G20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks out as leaders arrive for a family photo at the G20 in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Speaking to Sky News ahead of the meeting, Mrs May said: "It is the relationship we have with Saudi Arabia that enables me to sit down with him and be robust on our views on two issues".

On the Khashoggi case, she said Riyadh must "ensure that their investigation is a full investigation, that it is credible, that it is transparent and that people can have confidence in the outcome of it and that those responsible are held to account".

And she said she was "very concerned" about the humanitarian situation in Yemen resulting from the long-running conflict.

"Now is the time, there is an opportunity to find a solution," said the PM.

First lady Melania Trump, left center, and Argentina's first lady Juliana Awada, pose for a photo during a visit of partners of the Group of 20 leaders, at the Villa Ocampo cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Pani)
First lady Melania Trump, left center, and Argentina's first lady Juliana Awada, pose for a photo during a visit of partners of the Group of 20 leaders, at the Villa Ocampo cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Pani)

"I will be encouraging all parties, including the Saudi Arabians, to ensure that they sit down at the upcoming UN-led talks in Stockholm in the coming days and weeks and find a way through this, find a political solution for a stable future for Yemen."

Mrs May also held talks with the summit's host, President Mauricio Macri, at which the long-standing dispute over the sovereignty of the Falklands took a back seat as discussions focused on trade.

Mrs May presented keen Queen fan Macri with a book about the rock band, while the Argentine president gave her a special cup for drinking national beverage Yerba Mate herbal tea.

Mrs May is the first Conservative Prime Minister to visit Argentina since the 1982 war, and only the second serving PM to do so, after Tony Blair briefly crossed the border from Brazil in 2001.

Mr Macri has toned down official rhetoric over the islands Argentina knows as Las Malvinas since taking over from Cristina Kirchner in 2015.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump meets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

This week's announcement of a new air link between the Falklands and the South American mainland via Argentina has been greeted in London as an indication that relations are headed in a positive direction.

Speaking during her flight to Buenos Aires, Mrs May said the establishment of the flight showed "a different relationship developing".

"I am talking to President Macri about issues about trade and opportunities for trade, but our position on the sovereignty of the Falklands hasn't changed and will not change," she added.

The PM is using the G20 gathering to push her "global Britain" message, telling fellow leaders that her Brexit deal will be good for the world economy.

On Saturday, she will hold bilateral talks with leaders of Canada, Australia, Chile and Japan to discuss opportunities for future trade links, as well as discussing the progress of the Turkish murder probe with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Press Association

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