Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince sidelined in G20 family photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Argentina on Thursday Saudi Crown Prince receives 'firm message' on Khashoggi probe at G20 summit
Andrew Cummings | 01 December, 2018, 04:31

In the video, Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, can be heard telling the French leader not to worry, to which he replies: "I am worried".

Both leaders are under fire on the global stage, with Salman accused of ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at an embassy in Turkey.

The meeting between the two leaders comes a few months after it was announced that - following US's reimposition of sanctions against Iran - India will cut its oil imports from Tehran to zero.

He might have been standing on the fringes of the traditional "family photo" at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, but Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman got lots of attention.

Trump has had no discussion yet with the crown prince but would not rule one out.

In contrast, Mr Putin and the crown prince shared a smiley, enthusiastic greeting at the gathering. Saudi Arabia denies that bin Salman ordered the killing, but US intelligence agencies have concluded the opposite.

Mattis and Pompeo urged senators to support the United States involvement in the war in Yemen, including assistance to Saudi Arabia.

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White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders insists the reason for the cancellation was the situation with Ukraine, but said the probe into possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation was damaging ties between the two countries.

After press reports that the Central Intelligence Agency was pointing the finger directly at Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Trump issued a statement saying that US-Saudi relations and oil market stability were too important to rock over the scandal.

The French presidency said that Macron spoke to the prince about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi Arabian-led offensive in Yemen, where millions are on the brink of starvation.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prince Mohammed later exchanged a high-five and a handshake and laughed heartily as they took seats next to each other in the main meeting room.

Mr Trump cancelled his meeting with Mr Putin and G7 foreign ministers put out a strong statement expressing their "utmost concern".

Mr Trump's key agenda item though, will be Saturday's dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping - a head to head that world markets will also be watching closely.

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