Theresa May, the Prime Minister, is visiting Saudi Arabia and Jordan to strengthen relationships between the UK and Middle Eastern countries. Discussions are expected to be on security in the region, economic ties and efforts to deal with the refugee crisis.
In advance of the visit the Prime Minister said:
“As the United Kingdom leaves the EU, we are determined to forge a bold, confident future for ourselves in the world. We must look at the challenges that we, and future generations, will face and build stronger partnerships with countries that will be vital to both our security and our prosperity.
It is clearly in the UK’s security and prosperity interests to support Jordan and Saudi Arabia in tackling regional challenges to create a more stable region, and in delivering their ambitious reform programmes to ensure their own stability. An even deeper partnership with these countries, and greater knowledge and understanding of one another, will increase our ability to address the issues that concern us, including the promotion of international standards and norms.
To tackle the threats we face from terrorism and from geopolitical instability, we must meet them at their source. Jordan is on the frontline of multiple regional crises and I’m clear that by working with them, we are helping keep British people safe.
Likewise in Saudi Arabia: we must never forget that intelligence we have received in the past from that country has saved potentially hundreds of lives in the UK. And there is so much we can do together on trade, with immense potential for Saudi investment to provide a boost to the British economy.
So I hope my visit will herald a further intensification in relations between our countries and deepen true strategic partnerships, enabling us to seize the opportunities ahead and ensure the security and prosperity of our people for decades to come”.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, was critical of the arms trade between the UK and Saudi Arabia and said:
“As it stands, the British-Saudi relationship is damaging to the people of Saudi Arabia, Britain and the wider Middle East, and helping to export insecurity to the rest of the world”.