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France's finance minister cancels his Saudi conference trip amid Khashoggi disappearance

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire arrives to attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Photo: Reuters

France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire is the latest in a long line of politicians and global business leaders to pull out of an investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia next week amid a worldwide diplomatic dispute over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

On Public Senat TV, Le Maire simply said: “No, I will not go to Riyadh next week. The conditions are not right.”

Ahead of his disappearance, Washington Post columnist Khashoggi was highly-critical of Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, after a hit squad was sent in to murder him and dismember his body.

Saudi officials have denied the allegations but it has done nothing to prevent the growing backlash against the regime across the world.

READ MORE: Here’s everyone who has dropped out of Saudi Arabia’s ‘Davos of the Middle East’

Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, a conference that is widely known as the “Davos of the Middle East,” has provided a platform for business leaders and politicians to take a stand against the lack of information and transparency over what happened to Khashoggi.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, AOL founder Steve Case, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, and JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon are among the growing list of people that have cancelled their attendance at the conference. Yahoo Finance also confirmed on Monday that private equity firm KKR will not be attending the conference.

READ MORE: US trade with Saudi Arabia doesn’t justify casting a blind eye