Jeremy Hunt warns there will be ‘consequences’ if Saudi journalist is dead

Jeremy Hunt warns there will be ‘consequences’ if Saudi journalist is dead

Friday, October 19, 2018

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said there will be “consequences” for UK relations with Saudi Arabia if the UK is shown that the Saudis murdered missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The journalist has not been seen since visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, and the Foreign Secretary said the UK Government remains “extremely concerned”.

It has been alleged that Mr Khashoggi was tortured, murdered and dismembered by a hit squad from Saudi Arabia, according to sources in the Turkish Government.

Mr Hunt said that any response would be “considered” and would take into account the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. 


'A strategic relationship'

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox outside Downing Street

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today: "If the stories that we read about are true, and if you are asking me whether that will have consequences for the relationship with Saudi Arabia, then yes, of course it will.

"What is alleged to have happened is totally inconsistent with our values and what we believe in. Not just the brutality - if it happened - but also the fact that he was a journalist. Those things are completely unacceptable to the United Kingdom.

"If the stories turn out to be true, part of our reaction will depend on the Saudi reaction and whether we sense that they are taking it as seriously as we are taking it.

"Our relationship with Saudi is a strategic relationship. Our response will be considered because we have to recognise in that strategic relationship that they share intelligence with us that helps keep people safe on the streets of Britain.

"But even taking into account all those things, in the end, if these stories are true, we have to be absolutely clear it would not be consistent with our values."

This comes as International Trade Secretary Liam Fox pulled out of a high-profile Saudi investment conference along with government officials from the US, France and the Netherlands.

A Government spokesman said Dr Fox had decided the "time is not right" for him to attend the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh later this month.

"The UK remains very concerned about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance," the spokesman said.