News 11 october — 17:49

Ex-US energy secretary suspends role in Saudi project

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Ernest Moniz, former energy secretary under President Barack Obama, said Wednesday he has suspended his advisory role in a Saudi mega-project over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist, Anadolu Agency reports.

Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, has not been heard from since Oct. 2 when he visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul amid speculation that he was killed by Saudi authorities.

In a written statement, Moniz, who has an advisory role on the board of the $500 billion mega city project NEOM, said "given current events, I am suspending my participation on the NEOM board".

He said the suspension will move ahead until more information is made available about Khashoggi's disappearance.

The NEOM project involves the creation of a huge transnational city and economic zone and covers 26,500 square kilometers in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation on the fate of Khashoggi while several countries -- particularly Turkey, the U.S. and the UK -- have expressed their desire that the matter should be elucidated as soon as possible.

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