The chief executive of German industrial conglomerate Siemens Joe Kaeser said Monday he would withdraw from a Saudi investment summit, after days of media and political pressure over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The chief executive of German industrial conglomerate Siemens Joe Kaeser said Monday he would withdraw from a Saudi investment summit, after days of media and political pressure over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “It’s the cleanest decision but not the most courageous one,” Kaeser wrote in a post on social network LinkedIn of his choice not to attend the Future Investment Initiative (FII).
The Siemens boss insisted the move was “not a decision against the Kingdom or its people,” recalling that “Siemens has been a reliable partner to Saudi Arabia for decades.” “But for now, the truth must be found and justice must be served,” Kaeser said. German politicians and media had urged him to withdraw from the FII – dubbed “Davos in the desert” after the Swiss haunt of the rich and powerful.
“I personally wouldn’t take part in an event in Riyadh at the moment,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Saturday. Business daily Handelsblatt intoned last week that “now is not the time to be talking about future business projects at an investors’ forum.” Dozens of executives and International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde have pulled out of the pow-wow since Khashoggi’s disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Riyadh at first denied all knowledge of his whereabouts before admitting by inches that he had died on the premises. By Sunday, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in an interview with Fox News that “individuals… (acting) outside the scope of their authority” were responsible for the “murder” of Khashoggi. Britain, France and Germany have urged Riyadh to clarify how Khashoggi died, while US President Donald Trump accused Saudi Arabia of lying about the killing, saying in an interview “their stories are all over the place”.