RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - In a stunning development, Saudi Arabia has firmly rebuffed U.S. President Donald Trump's statement that he would consider "severe punishment" if allegations regarding missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi are found to be true. Nor, it says, would it stand for UN sanctions or any other pressure brought against it.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia hit back with a strong and angry rebuttal to any threats made against the country. A statement from the Saudi government said it had the steadfast support of the people, and that any action taken against the country would be met with "greater action."
The statement was also loud and clear on the Saudi position in relation to the Khashoggi disappearance, issuing a categorical denial of stories circulating in the media, saying the accusations being made are part of a “campaign of false allegations and falsehoods.”
The official statement said Saudi Arabia, from its leading position in the Arab and Islamic worlds, has played a prominent role throughout history in achieving security, stability and prosperity in the region and the world.
Saudi Arabia, says the statement, has been leading efforts in combating extremism and terrorism, enhancing economic cooperation and consolidating peace and stability in the region and the world, "and it is still working with brotherly and friendly countries to promote these goals, basing all of this on its own status as a platform of revelation, and the birthplace of Islam."
Saudi Arabia, the statement says, "affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations that will not undermine the Kingdom and its staunch positions and Arab, Islamic and international status, the outcome of these weak endeavors, like their predecessors, is a demise."
"The Kingdom as the government and people are steadfast, glorious as ever, no matter whatever the pressures and circumstances might be," the statement said.
The unusually strong statement goes on to say, "The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action."
The statement acknowledged the support by Saudi Arabia’s Gulf neighbours, which it said was "in the face of the campaign of false allegations and falsehoods."
The government said it also appreciated, "the voices of the wise people around the world, who have overcome wisdom, deliberation and the search for truth instead of rushing and seeking to exploit rumors and accusations to achieve goals and agendas unrelated to the search for truth."