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France suspends political visits to Saudi Arabia

France has suspended some political visits to Saudi Arabia over the case of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the country’s president said Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Emmanuel Macron said clarification on Khashoggi’s disappearance is needed, noting the information received so far is "extremely serious and worrying".

He said the decision was made in coordination with other European countries, including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

As part of the decision, Macron said a planned trip by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to attend an economic conference has been cancelled.

Responding to a question on relations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Macron said bilateral relations between the two counties will continue.

- Khashoggi case

Khashoggi has been missing since Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

On the day of Khashoggi's disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.

On Wednesday, crime scene investigation units arrived at the official residence of Saudi Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi around 4.40 p.m. local time (1340GMT). Al-Otaibi had left Turkey for Riyadh on Tuesday.

Officials from a joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case early Thursday after searching the residence as well as the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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