As investigations into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi continue to cause diplomatic tensions, the U.K.'s foreign office told CNBC that it is ready to sanction Saudi Arabia if evidence points to its involvement in the death.
The U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said that the U.K. had been clear "that we need to see accountability for the horrific murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi."
"We are exploring with EU (European Union) partners the potential for an EU global human rights sanctions regime, which could address such brutal human rights violations," an foreign office spokesperson told CNBC in a statement Monday.
"We will of course wait for the final outcome of the Turkish investigation before making any decisions," the spokesperson said.
The foreign office said it would base any decision on punitive action against Saudi Arabia on the kingdom's own explanation for Khashoggi's death.
"The actions Britain and our allies take will depend on two things: Firstly the credibility of the final explanation given by Saudi Arabia, and secondly on our confidence that such an appalling episode cannot — and will not — be repeated."
Saudi Arabia continues to strenuously deny any involvement in Khashoggi's death, it's foreign minister stating in October that the death happened during an "operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had." It has already announced forthcoming prosecutions of 11 suspects and it is seeking the death penalty for five of them.
A report by the CIA has purportedly come to a different conclusion, however, with media reports suggesting at the weekend that the CIA has said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder. Saudi's foreign minister said early Tuesday that the CIA's assessment of the murder was false. A full report could be released by the CIA on Tuesday, President Trump said.
CNBC has asked the U.K. Foreign Office for further detail on what kind of restrictions it could impose on Saudi Arabia and has asked for further detail on an EU global human rights sanctions regime.