Saudi economic forum opens but many absent over Khashoggi

Saudi economic forum opens but many absent over Khashoggi
Saudi employees print badges of participants of the Future Investment Initiative conference, which kicks off Tuesday, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Saudi Arabia is moving ahead with plans to hold the glitzy investment forum, despite some of its most important speakers pulling out in the global outcry over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A high-profile economic forum in Saudi Arabia has begun in Riyadh, the kingdom’s first major event on the world stage since the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

The Future Investment Initiative forum, which began on Tuesday, is the brainchild of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It’s aimed at drawing more foreign investment into the kingdom and to help create desperately needed jobs for its youthful population.

Prince Mohammed was not immediately at the forum when it started.

The forum last year proved to be a glitzy affair that drew more international business attention to the kingdom. This year’s event meanwhile has seen many top business leaders and officials drop out over Khashoggi’s Oct. 2 slaying.