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Saudi Arabia orders internal probe into Khashoggi case after worldwide pressure

Saudi Arabia orders internal probe into Khashoggi case after worldwide pressure”

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are expected to conduct a joint "inspection" on Monday of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, almost two weeks after the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish authorities said.

A foreign ministry official said the inspection would be a joint one carried out by Turkish and Saudi officials.

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether through economic sanctions, political pressure or repeating false accusations", a statement by the Saudi government said.

Trade in the forward currency market, used by banks to hedge investments, suggested some institutions were protecting themselves against the risk of capital outflows or USA sanctions on Riyadh after the disappearance of Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi authorities, in Istanbul.

The Saudi consulate referred Reuters to authorities in Riyadh who did not respond to questions about the 15 Saudis.

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Oil prices moved only slightly on Monday as analysts said they doubted Saudi Arabia, the word's biggest exporter of crude, would risk global isolation and damage its own finances by cutting back exports at a time when it is pushing through reforms designed to create jobs and diversify its economy.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., later sought to "clarify" those threats on Twitter, noting that "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia extends it appreciation to all, including the USA administration, for refraining from jumping to conclusions on the ongoing investigation".

Europe's largest economies - Britain, France and Germany - said on Sunday they were treating the case with "the utmost seriousness". Ford Motor Co said Chairman Bill Ford has canceled his trip to the Middle East, which included an appearance at the Saudi investment conference.

Krustins and other analysts noted that foreign investment flows into Saudi Arabia were already very low because of a weak private sector and uncertainty over regulation; this could limit the impact of any reduction of flows. Saudi Arabia insists that Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed but has not allowed Turkish investigators to enter the building.

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King Salman and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday evening and stressed the importance of the two countries creating the joint group as part of the probe. The Saudi government denies this claim.

"The kingdom also affirms that if it is (targeted by) any action, it will respond with greater action", it said.

Khashoggi has written extensively for the Post about Saudi Arabia, criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.

Oil futures were up and Saudi Arabian stock market was down early Monday over rising insecurity in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance.

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