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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

UAE's Gargash warns against any attempts at 'destabilising' key ally Saudi Arabia

Minister of state for foreign affairs tweets firm opposition to 'politicisation and prejudices' against Riyadh

Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, speaks during a press conference in Dubai about the situation in Yemen. AFP 
Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, speaks during a press conference in Dubai about the situation in Yemen. AFP 

The United Arab Emirates warned Friday against any attempts to undermine the stability of its regional ally Saudi Arabia.

In what can be assumed to be a reference to the controversy surrounding the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted that Abu Dhabi was firmly opposed to those who might turn to "politicisation and prejudice" rather than the importance of seeking the truth.

Mr Khashoggi, who wrote in the Washington Post and was an outspoken critic of policy in the kingdom, hasn’t been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul just over two weeks ago. Turkish officials have said he was murdered and dismembered within the building by Saudi agents who were waiting for him to arrive. Saudi officials have insisted Mr Khashoggi left unharmed.

"From our perspective, the security, stability and role of the region in the international environment depends on Saudi Arabia with all the political, economic and religious burdens it carries. In this sense, it is necessary to distinguish between the search for truth and its importance," Mr Gargash tweeted.

Mr Gargash also tweeted: "The first is looking for the truth in the midst of leaks and counter-leaks. The second is seeking to undermine Riyadh and its position. In this, which is firmly against politicisation, prejudices and attempts to undermine Saudi stability and limit its role, there is no alternative".

President Donald Trump, who first came out hard on the Saudis over the disappearance but had since backed off, said Thursday that it "certainly looks" as though Mr Khashoggi is dead, and that the consequences for the Saudis "will have to be very severe" if they are found to have killed him.

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Read more:

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VIDEO: Where is Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi?

Turkey asks to search Saudi consulate where Jamal Khashoggi was last seen

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The messaging underscored the administration's concern about the effect the case could have on relations with a close and valuable strategic partner. Increasingly upset US lawmakers are questioning the seriousness with which Mr Trump and his top aides are taking the matter, while Mr Trump has emphasised the billions of dollars in weapons the Saudis purchase from the United States.

Mr Trump, who has insisted that more facts must be known before making assumptions, did not say on what he based his latest statement about the writer's likely demise.

Asked if Khashoggi was dead, he said, "It certainly looks that way. ... Very sad."

Mr Pompeo said on Thursday that he recommended President Trump give the Saudis and Turks “a few more days” to investigate.

In his remarks, Mr Pompeo stressed the long alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia. “They are an important strategic alliance of the United States and we need to be mindful of that as well,” he said.

Since Mr Khashoggi's disappearance, a number of business and political leaders have announced they will not be attending a forthcoming investment summit in Riyadh.