British FM meets Saudi envoy over Khashoggi disappearance

British FM meets Saudi envoy over Khashoggi disappearance
2 min read
09 October, 2018
'Friendships depend on shared values,' Hunt said of its close relationship to the Saudi regime, who are widely accused of kidnapping, and possibly murdering, a prominent journalist
Britain's foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt took over from Boris Johnson in July [Getty]
The UK broke its silence over the allegations that Gulf ally Saudi Arabia may have kidnapped, and possibly even murdered, a renowned writer and regime critic in Istanbul.

The British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Tuesday he had "just met" with the Saudi Ambassador, "to seek urgent answers" over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city a week ago.

"Violence against journalists worldwide is going up & is a grave threat to freedom of expression. If media reports prove correct, we will treat the incident seriously - friendships depend on shared values," he added.

Hunt's remarks coincide with those of top White House figures including President Trump, who also said he was "concerned" over the matter, but hoped it would "sort itself out".

The UK has a close diplomatic and trade relationship with the Gulf kingdom, and remains tight-lipped in its criticism over the appalling human rights record of the Saudi regime.

The UK's Prime Minister came under fire for signing off a £100 million aid deal  between London and Riyadh in conjunction with crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to the UK in March. The deal was denounced by MPs as a "mockery" of the UK's commitment to international development.

During the same trip, Theresa May also agreed to sell 48 fighter jets to the kingdom, in a deal labelled 'shameful' by activists.

A Saudi-led coalition has been waging an offensive against rebels in Yemen in support of the internationally recognised government, conducting airstrikes that have killed hundreds of civilians, including children.