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Saudi Crown Prince, May Hold Inaugural UK-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council Meeting

Saudi Crown Prince, May Hold Inaugural UK-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council Meeting

Wednesday, 7 March, 2018 - 18:00
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, and British Prime Minister Theresa May hosted in London on Wednesday the inaugural meeting of the UK-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council, announced May’s spokesman.

The meeting agreed a landmark ambition for around 65 billion pounds of mutual trade and investment opportunities over the coming years, including direct investment in the UK and new Saudi public procurement with UK companies.

“This is a significant boost for UK prosperity and a clear demonstration of the strong international confidence in our economy as we prepare to leave the European Union,” said the spokesperson.

These new investment and procurement opportunities will be spread across a range of sectors including education, training and skills, financial and investment services, culture and entertainment, healthcare services and life sciences, technology and renewable energy and the defense industry.

May said the UK was a firm supporter of Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030”, an ambitious blueprint for internal reform that aims to create a thriving economy and a vibrant society – conditions that we agree are essential to the Kingdom’s long-term stability and success.

She noted that as a world leader across a range of sectors, the UK was “uniquely placed to partner Saudi Arabia in delivering these vital reforms.”

May welcomed recent reforms in Saudi Arabia, including on women attending sporting events and the cinema, and being legally able to drive from June.

“The Prime Minister and Crown Prince agreed that we should continue working together to explore ways the UK can support Saudi Arabia to progress and intensify these reforms, particularly on women’s rights, and on universal human rights,” added the spokesperson.

Following the meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council, Crown Prince Mohammed and May received a briefing from UK national security officials on foreign policy issues, including Yemen.

Prince Mohammed and May agreed on the importance of “full and unfettered humanitarian and commercial access, including through the ports, and that a political solution was ultimately the only way to end the conflict and humanitarian suffering in Yemen,” said the spokesperson.

They also discussed Iran, “agreeing on the importance of working together to counter Iran’s destabilizing regional activity,” and Iraq, including the importance of supporting reconstruction efforts.

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