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RIYADH - Saudi Arabia brushed off a Western boycott over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as it prepared to launch an investment conference on Tuesday that has been overshadowed by the withdrawal of dozens of top business and government leaders.
Hundreds of bankers and company executives are still expected to join officials at a palatial Riyadh hotel for the Future Investment Initiative, an annual event designed to help attract billions of dollars of foreign capital as part of reforms to end Saudi dependence on oil exports.
But while last year's inaugural conference drew the global business elite, earning it the informal title "Davos in the Desert", this year's event has been marred by the pullout of more than two dozen high-level speakers following an international outcry over Khashoggi's killing.
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