US’ Mnuchin says talk about sanctions premature, will visit Riyadh to meet with counterpart

"I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia," Mnuchin announced on Twitter after meeting with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AFP/Mandel Ngan)
Updated 21 October 2018
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US’ Mnuchin says talk about sanctions premature, will visit Riyadh to meet with counterpart

JERUSALEM, Oct 21 : US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday it was premature to comment on possible US sanctions against Saudi Arabia for the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi until an investigation had been completed.
Mnuchin said information so far on the investigation was “a good first step but not enough” as Riyadh faced increasing international pressure over what happened to Khashoggi, who disappeared after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
US President Donald Trump, who has said the United States would consider sanctions against Saudi Arabia, emphasized on Saturday that he was not satisfied with the Saudis’ handling of the case.
“It would be premature to comment on sanctions and premature to comment on really any issues until we get further down the investigation and get to the bottom of what occurred,” Mnuchin told reporters in Jerusalem.
Mnuchin confirmed that he would not attend a Saudi investment conference on Tuesday. However, he said he would visit Riyadh as planned for talks with his counterpart on joint efforts to counter terrorist financing and plans by Washington to reimpose sanctions against Iran in November.
“I did not think it was appropriate to go and speak at this conference but we continue to have important issues with Saudi and that is why I am going there,” Mnuchin said.
The visit, he said, was necessary as Washington prepares to reimpose sanctions against Iran.
He said he had no reason to believe that Saudi Arabia would renege on commitments to make up for any shortfall in global oil supplies as Iranian oil exports are curbed under the sanctions.
“I have no reason to believe that they are not going to honor those commitments,” said Mnuchin, who will meet Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih while in Riyadh.


FaceOf: Mariam Al-Ghamdi, Saudi actress, radio host, director and writer

Updated 6 min 57 sec ago
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FaceOf: Mariam Al-Ghamdi, Saudi actress, radio host, director and writer

Mariam Al-Ghamdi is a Saudi actress, radio host, director and writer. She was one of the first women to feature on live radio in the Kingdom, reading the newscast in 1962.

She began scriptwriting for TV in 1984, which paved the way for a career as a producer from 1993. She subsequently forged a successful career as an actress, appearing in shows including “Selfie,” “Sayf Barid,” “Harat Al-Shaykh” and “Hawameer El-Sahraa, as well as in the movie “Wadjda.”

Al-Ghamdi earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah in 1989, and has written many story collections, such as “Ahobbak wa Lakin” and “Asmaa wa Nisaa.” 

Al-Ghamdi appeared on the red carpet at the fifth Saudi Film Festival at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran on Thursday.

She praised Ithra for organizing the festival and supporting young filmmakers in Saudi Arabia, saying: “In the past Saudi filmmakers were on their own, but thanks to Ithra, they now have the support they need.”

She was particularly excited at the progress of women in Saudi cinema: “I am truly proud of what they have achieved, and I hope to have played a part in bringing it about.”