French minister pulls out of Saudi conference over Khashoggi

IMF chief Christine Lagarde

IMF chief Christine Lagarde

The IMF did not give a specific reason but Lagarde is the latest in a long line of speakers and attendees to withdraw from the three-day event as diplomatic tensions mount around Khashoggi's disappearance.

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde chose to postpone her trip to the Middle East region including the visit to Saudi Arabia amid the scandal around the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an IMF spokesperson said.

Businesses have been dropping out of the Future Investment Initiative at pace over the past few days as more details emerge surrounding the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saturday still, at the meetings of the autumn of the fund in Bali, Ms. Lagarde had said that she would be at this conference in Riyadh where the who's who of industry and finance would meet from 23 to 25 October.

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Media companies, including the New York Times and CNN, have pulled out of the investment conference because of growing outrage over Khashoggi's disappearance. "But I have to conduct the business of the International Monetary Fund in all corners in the world and with many governments".

Khashoggi, who has been working for The Washington Post newspaper and has been known for his criticism of Saudi authorities, went missing in Turkey on October 2.

With the Saudi government facing rising global pressure to explain what it knows about the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, a Washington-based opinion writer who was frequently critical of the royal family, a number of leading US corporate figures have canceled their own plans to attend the conference, whose fate now is very much in doubt.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

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