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France Vows 'Punitive Measures' if Saudi Role is 'Proven' in Khashoggi Murder

After initially denying any knowledge of his fate, Saudi Arabia last week claimed the journalist had died in a "fist fight", before later admitting he was murdered.

AFP

Updated:October 24, 2018, 7:34 PM IST
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France Vows 'Punitive Measures' if Saudi Role is 'Proven' in Khashoggi Murder
A demonstrator holds picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul. (Image: Reuters)
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Paris: France will take "punitive measures" if Saudi Arabia is "proven" to be behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on Wednesday, adding that Paris would first have to verify Riyadh's involvement. "In the event that Saudi Arabia's responsibility is proven, we will then draw the consequences and take punitive measures... not only on weapons," Griveaux said after a cabinet meeting.

Griveaux, however, emphasised that "as long as it is not perfectly proven, and has not been corroborated by our intelligence services, we will hold off on any decisions." His remarks came after President Emmanuel Macron's office said he would refrain from "any hasty decision" on how to respond to Khashoggi's death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

After initially denying any knowledge of his fate, Riyadh last week claimed the Washington Post contributor had died in a "fist fight", before later admitting he was murdered.

Saudi leaders have denied any involvement in the 59-year-old's murder, which they say was carried out by rogue elements. Britain, France and Germany have demanded that Riyadh clarify how Khashoggi died and said its account must be backed by "credible" facts.

Saudi Arabia was the second-biggest purchaser of French weapons between 2008 and 2017, after India, signing deals for some 12 billion euros (USD 13.8 billion) in French arms. Germany, which has said it will not approve further arms exports to Riyadh until the truth about the journalist's death is known, has urged other European nations to follow suit.
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