The Netherlands–Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra will cancel his planned appearance at a conference in Riyadh next week if it transpires that Saudia Arabia had a role in the ‘disappearance’ of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday. Hoekstra will also boycott the ‘Future Investment Initiative’ conference if Riyadh has failed to satisfactorily answer questions about Khashoggi from the international community, NOS said.
International media report that Riyadh is poised to acknowledge that Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Istanbul. Last week Hoekstra said reports that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered inside the Saudi embassy were ‘very worrying’ and that he is following developments closely in consultation with the foreign affairs ministry.
Hoekstra is due to take part in the conference on Thursday.Foreign minister Stef Blok has also said the reports are of grave concern. ‘It is extremely important that we get clarity,’ Blok said during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.‘Every murder is a terrible thing but the murder of a journalist is even worse because journalists have a special role in our society,’ he said.
The Netherlands is due to send a trade mission to Saudi Arabia in a month’s time but Blok said it is too early to say if it will go ahead or not.‘Let us get the facts on the table first and then take decisions,’ he said.