BlackRock and Blackstone CEOs withdraw from Saudi conference

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia's sharp response to Canada shows the limits of reforms by Mohammed bin Salman. AAP

Germany, Britain and France issued a joint statement over the weekend expressing "grave concern" and calling for a credible investigation to ensure those responsible for the disappearance "are held to account".

This statement came after the Saudi stock market plunged by almost 7 percent at one point on Sunday.

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The exchange dropped by over 500 points, then clawed back some of the losses, ending the day down more than 4 per cent.

A leading USA senator says Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shouldn't attend a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia later this month in the wake of reports that journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi may have been killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"For sure, they listened to the conversation between me and Jamal and other activists, in Canada, in the States, in Turkey, in Saudi Arabia", Omar Abdulaziz said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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'The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations, ' said the statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The U.S. president gave no evidence to support the theory. They also claim they are in possession of audio and video recordings that would show a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi before killing him and dismembering his body.

Faisal bin Farhan, a senior adviser to the Saudi embassy in Washington, said on Twitter that these comments don't represent the Saudi leadership.

"The Saudi economy has vital and influential roles for the global economy", the source told SPA.

"In light of the uncertainty surrounding the disappearance of the Washington Post's Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey, The New York Times has chose to cancel all upcoming Times Journeys departures to Saudi Arabia", spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades said in an email.

For its part, Saudi Arabia stressed it would take decisive retaliatory measures against all governmental and private entities that engage in what officials in Riyadh have dubbed "hostile activities" against the kingdom. Benchmark Brent crude is trading at around $80 a barrel, and Trump has criticized OPEC and Saudi Arabia over rising prices.

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The Washington Post, citing unidentified United States and Turkish officials, reported that Turkey had told USA officials it has audio and video recordings that prove Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

It's not clear yet when Pompeo might go to meet the Saudi king.

Similar campaigns have been trending on social media in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, although there has been no official backing so far.

The controversy has troubled Saudi's traditional Western allies - who are key arms suppliers to the kingdom - and also undermined efforts by Mohammed bin Salman to present himself as a modernising ruler.

Bahrain called for a boycott of Uber, in which PIF has invested $3.5 billion, after its chief executive officer said he would not attend the conference.

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