King and British PM review regional developments

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Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH
– Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and British Prime Minister Theresa May discussed bilateral ties and reviewed regional developments during their meeting here Wednesday evening.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy prime minister and defense minister, was present during the talks.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman “is somebody who has a very clear vision,” May said in her statement before leaving for Saudi Arabia. She was referring to the crown prince’s program of reforms that includes goals to increase the participation of women in the workforce and increase non-oil government revenue.

"We’ve already seen some changes taking place in Saudi Arabia, for example women being allowed to drive. It’s important that we work with him,” May said.

The British prime minister arrived in Riyadh Wednesday evening from Iraq. She is on a three-day tour to the Middle East during which she is expected to visit Jordan also.

"This visit demonstrates that as the UK leaves the EU we are determined to forge a bold, confident future for ourselves in the world," a spokesman for May said.

"It is clearly in the UK's security interests to support Jordan and Saudi Arabia in tackling regional challenges to create a more stable region, and in delivering their ambitious reform programs to ensure their own stability," he added.

“We need to ensure that we’re building stable partnerships to ensure our security, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s in Britain’s national interest to work with Jordan and Saudi Arabia,’’ May told reporters on the plane.

“It’s in their security interests but also in ours. We want to help them to address regional challenges but also to put through the reforms that they have to ensure their long-term stability.’’

By visiting the Middle East, May aims to show that even as Britain leaves the European Union it remains an influential country on the world stage, able to “forge a new and confident future,” she said.

The premier last visited Saudi Arabia in April, when she was accompanied by London Stock Exchange Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Xavier Rolet, who pitched London as the venue for Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering.


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