Sanctions against Saudi would ‘rock the world’ says Saudi state owned press

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As worldwide pressure mounted on Saudi Arabia over the case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom came out swinging Sunday, threatening to retaliate and spelling out the ways in which Riyadh would punish the United States if it imposed sanctions.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi monarchy, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey's capital Istanbul on October 2 and may have been killed there, according to Turkish officials. Pointing out that Russia and China were ready to step in, he added that "no one can deny that repercussions of these sanctions will include a Russian military base in Tabuk, northwest of Saudi Arabia, in the heated four corners of Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq".

Turkish officials have released footage of a squad of Saudi men arriving in Istanbul the day Jamal Khashoggi vanished.

Dozens of media organisations - some of whom had set up tents - were maintaining a constant vigil outside the consulate in expectation of the search finally beginning.

"There's something really awful and disgusting about that, if that was the case, so we're going to have to see", Mr Trump said.

Saudi representatives were due to take part in the investigation alongside their Turkish colleagues.

The development came after Erdogan and King Salman had their first telephone talks since the controversy erupted, in what appeared to be a conciliatory conversation according to official readouts.

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Turkish officials fear Khashoggi was killed and dismembered.

"In this spirit, light must be shed on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi", it said, indicating all three countries were treating the matter "with the utmost seriousness".

Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal last week to form a joint working group to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance, which has sparked threats of economic sanctions from Western allies. The kingdom also warned of retaliation if there was any punitive action against it. In response, executives at some major USA companies announced they would no longer attend the "Davos in the Desert" conference hosted by the country. That includes the CEO of Uber, a company in which Saudi Arabia has invested billions of dollars, as well as billionaire Richard Branson.

In major new twin blows to the credibility of the event, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford also cancelled plans to attend, CNBC reported.

His disappearance has drawn global condemnation and sparked warnings from US President Donald Trump on Saturday of "severe punishment" if the Saudis are found to be behind his death.

In an interview scheduled to air today, Mr Trump told CBS' 60 Minutes that Saudi Arabia would face strong consequences if involved in Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

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