French finance minister cancels trip to Saudi conference

French finance minister cancels trip to Saudi conference
A Turkish forensic officer arrives at the Saudi consulate to conduct a new search over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, in Istanbul, early Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

PARIS (AP) — France’s finance minister has canceled his attendance at an upcoming investment conference in Saudi Arabia amid doubts over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Bruno Le Maire said Thursday on French television channel Public Senat that “I will not go to Riyadh next week” for the conference, known as “Davos in the Desert.”

He said the facts related to the disappearance of Khashoggi are “serious” and need to be explained by Saudi authorities.

Turkish officials say that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Saudi officials have denied the allegations as “baseless,” but haven’t provided evidence of the writer leaving the diplomatic mission alive.

Le Maire added his decision doesn’t call into question the strategic partnership between France and Saudi Arabia.