French Finance Minister pulls out of Saudi business forum


French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday said he has cancelled his plan to attend an upcoming business conference in Riyadh, following the disappearance of a dissident Saudi journalist.

“I will not go to Riyadh next week. The president of the Republic has said it very clearly: The events are very serious,” Le Maire said in a statement to Public Senat TV.

Jamal Khashoggi went missing on October 2 when he entered Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up the paperwork needed for his planned marriage to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, reports Efe news.

Le Maire added he called his Saudi counterpart on Wednesday to inform him of his decision to cancel his participation at the October 23-25 Future Investment Initiative, which aims at showcasing the Saudi Vision 2030 plan.

Turkey has claimed it is in possession of audio and video evidence that Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate building, but Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied.

Over the past week, many corporates and media houses have announced their decision to shun the Saudi tech summit.

Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC and the Financial Times have withdrawn themselves for attending the forum.

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, former AOL CEO and venture capitalist Steve Case, J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Ford Chairman Bill Ford, and Google Android creator Andy Rubin also withdrew.