A Saudi man walks past the sign of the Future Investment Initiative during the last day of the investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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Saudi Arabia said it signed $56 billion of deals at an investment conference this week and expected the United States to remain a key business partner despite a partial boycott of the event over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.In protest at the Khashoggi case, British billionaire Richard Branson suspended discussions with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which hosted the conference, over a planned $1 billion investment in his group's space ventures.However, Saudi officials mounted a business-as-usual campaign at the conference, and many of the big Western banks whose top executives boycotted the event sent sizeable teams of lower-ranking executives to Riyadh.State oil firm Saudi Aramco said it had signed deals with 15 international partners worth more than $34 billion at the conference.Some of the deals were memorandums of understanding that may never progress to the stage of firm contracts, and other deals had already been planned for months, so there was a strong element of public relations in the $56 billion total.
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