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France casts doubt on Saudi Khashoggi probe


AFP Paris
France's foreign minister cast doubt on Saudi Arabia's investigation into the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Wednesday, saying "not enough" was being done to find those responsible for his murder.
The comments appear to signal France upping the pressure on Saudi authorities, having so far declined to openly criticise the Riyadh regime over a death that has badly strained relations between the Middle East kingdom and the West.
"This crime has to be punished and the perpetrators identified. The truth needs to come out. And today, even though Saudi authorities have admitted that there was a murder, it's not enough. The truth has not been revealed," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL.
"The investigations need to continue. We will continue to be demanding." He added that "depending on the results that will be announced (of the Turkish and Saudi investigations), we will implement the necessary sanctions against those guilty".
"We don't rule out anything on the sanctions, in coordination with our European partners," he said.
Saudi Arabia's chief public prosecutor is in Istanbul - where Khashoggi was killed on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate - to meet with Turkish authorities as part of his country's investigation.
The case has brought near unprecedented international scrutiny of Saudi Arabia and its powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom Khashoggi had criticised.
But Turkish officials have told local media that the Saudi prosecutor has refused to share information and appears "primarily interested in finding out what evidence the Turkish authorities had against the perpetrators".
France, like fellow European nation Britain, has so far condemned the death of Khashoggi but has trod carefully, wary of upsetting an ally in the Middle East that is an important economic and security partner.

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First Published: Oct 31 2018 | 5:15 PM IST

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