Australia deplores the killing of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, at the hands of Saudi operatives at Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

We note the announcement overnight by the Saudi Public Prosecutor of the arrests of 18 Saudi nationals directly implicated in the killing of Mr Khashoggi and of the removal of some senior Saudi government officials.

We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Mr Khashoggi was a strong voice for freedom of expression.

In light of this new information, we have determined that official Australian representation at the forthcoming Future Investment Initiative ('Davos in the desert') event in Riyadh is no longer appropriate.

Earlier this week Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Marise Payne conveyed to the Saudi Ambassador to Australia the Government's serious concern over Mr Khashoggi's welfare, and directed our Ambassador in Riyadh to raise the matter with the Saudi Government.

We strongly urge the Saudi authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to cooperate fully with their Turkish counterparts in ascertaining the full circumstances of Mr Khashoggi's death.

We call on Saudi Arabia to hold all those responsible to account for this egregious act against one of its citizens.

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