France has imposed an entry ban on 18 Saudi citizens over the killing in the country’s consulate in Istanbul of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
The ministry said the move was coordinated with other EU countries, including Germany, which also imposed an entry ban on 18 Saudi citizens this week.
France has been more reticent than other Western countries in reacting to the Khashoggi killing.
President Emmanuel Macron has said that calls for Paris to follow Berlin’s lead and impose a ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia are “demagoguery.”
Saudi Arabia is one of the main clients for the French defence industry, although officials insist that is not a consideration in its response to the killing of Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabia initially claimed that Khashoggi left its consulate alive after visiting it to pick up papers he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee, who was waiting for him outside.
Turkish authorities say he was strangled on entering the consulate and his body dismembered and disposed of in a premeditated operation.
Saudi Arabia has now admitted that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, and says it is seeking the death penalty for five suspects.
But Riyadh has rejected allegations, published in US media and attributed to US intelligence, that the powerful Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the killing.