October 24, 2018 / 11:05 AM / a month ago

France says will take no "hasty decision" on links with Saudi Arabia

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attend a press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 10, 2018. Yoan Valat/Pool via Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - France will not take any decisions on its relationship with Saudi Arabia until the facts surrounding the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are clear, a source in President Emmanuel Macron’s Elysee office said on Wednesday.

“If decisions are to be taken in the future, they will be taken but based on facts that have been clarified and responsibilities that have been clearly established,” the source said.

“We won’t take any hasty decision on the future of our strategic relationship,” the source added.

Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 has triggered global outrage. Saudi officials have acknowledged that Saudi operatives were responsible for his death, but the explanation around precisely how he was killed and why have shifted.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called the killing a “monstrosity” and vowed to halt German arms exports to Riyadh until the case is cleared up.

But Macron on Tuesday refused to take questions about halting arms sales. From 2008-17, Saudi Arabia was the second-biggest purchaser of French arms, with deals totalling more than 11 billion euros.

Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Luke Baker

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