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World leaders flock to Riyadh a year after Khashoggi’s murder 

October 29, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman (L) is welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) with an official welcoming ceremony at presidential palace in New Delhi, India on February 20, 2019 [Indian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Just one year after Saudi journalists Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder in his country’s Consulate in Istanbul, world leaders are flocking to Riyadh to attend a flagship investor meeting known as “Davos in the desert”.

Although there has been very little progress in bringing those responsible for the grisly murder to justice, the CIA and several other intelligence agencies believe that the killing was authorised by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the Kingdom.

Five presidents and the heads of some of the world’s biggest banks and arms manufacturers are reported to be among those heading to Saudi Arabia for the potentially lucrative event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India as well as British ministers are among the high-profile guests, as is Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser.

Kushner is expected to sit on a panel discussing the future of the US. Blackstone chief executive Stephen Schwarzman, one of the high-profile last minute drop outs from last year’s event, is also expected to attend.

READ:  Amazon boss will not join Saudi’s ‘Davos in the Desert’

Financiers heading for Riyadh, according to the Financial Times, include Larry Fink, the chief executive of BlackRock, and Tidjane Thiam, the head of Credit Suisse.

Another expected guest is Trump ally Tom Barrack, executive chairman of Colony Capital, who was forced to apologise after suggesting that it was a “mistake” to criticise Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s killing.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was working as a columnist prior to his murder, will not attend the investment meeting.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said that she was disappointed that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the international community had not taken advantage of her report about the Khashoggi murder to launch an international investigation.

Callamard added that her statement to the UN Human Rights Council submitted on 26 June constitutes “important grounds” for such an investigation to take place.

READ: Callamard disappointed with UN’s handling of Khashoggi’s case