Swiss concerned over missing Saudi journalist

The journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 3 and has gone missing since. Keystone

The Swiss foreign ministry has summoned the chargé d’affaires of the Saudi Arabian embassy to express concern over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

swissinfo.ch/urs

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on Monday confirmed that the number two at the Saudi embassy to Bern was asked to shed light on the case.

The move comes as European countries and the United States piled pressure on Saudi Arabia, calling for a formal investigation into the case. The Saudi writer, who lives in the US, disappeared in early October after entering the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

The Swiss government could decide on a case-by-case basis whether to impose economic sanctions on Saudi Arabia, a SECO spokesman said.

But Switzerland would only be obliged to follow suit if the United Nations decided to take punitive measures, he added.

Saudi Arabia is a key partner for Switzerland in the Arab world and the Middle East region.

The trade volume between the two countries was CHF2.5 billion ($2.5 billion) last year, according to SECO.

Swiss exports include mainly pharmaceutical products, watches and machinery, while Saudi oil exports to European countries indirectly cover about 60% of Switzerland’s crude oil imports.

Earlier this year, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia boosted cooperation on financial matters.

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