UK PM commits to raise human rights in Saudi Arabia

When meeting Gulf leaders to discuss lessening reliance on Russian oil and gas following the invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to raise human rights.

On Wednesday, he visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss energy security and other matters.

“To deal with the new reality we face,” he stated, a worldwide coalition was required.

However, critics have raised worries about the countries’ human rights histories.

Saudi Arabia executed 81 men in one day this weekend, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been linked to the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Three further executions were announced on Wednesday by Saudi news agency SPA, in what the Reprieve organisation called as a “provocative move” meant to “flaunt the Crown Prince’s power.”

“Going cap in hand from dictator to dictator is hardly an energy plan,” Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said.

Mr Johnson should not be “making deals” with Crown Prince Salman unless he insists “on the truth and justice for Jamal’s death,” according to Hatice Cengiz, Mr Khashoggi’s girlfriend.

Mr Johnson was on a “begging expedition to the Saudi prince,” Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner told MPs, after failing to invest in domestic energy.

Mr Johnson, on the other hand, argued that if western countries wanted to “avoid being blackmailed” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, they needed to abandon their reliance on Russia’s fossil fuels and investigate other options.

“I’ve mentioned all those issues many, many times – when I was foreign secretary and beyond, and I’ll raise them again again today,” the prime minister said when asked about working with a government with a questionable human rights record.

He cited Saudi Arabia’s announcement of a £1 billion investment in green aviation fuel in the United Kingdom as an example of “the kind of stuff we want to support.”

“We can’t stick to our principles and raise those issues that we all care about,” he continued, but that doesn’t mean “we can’t stick to our principles and raise those issues that we all care about.”

Mr Johnson arrived in the United Arab Emirates’ Abu Dhabi airport, where he was greeted by British Ambassador to the UAE Patrick Moody.

Before meeting Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, he was led past a guard of honour.

Following that, Mr Johnson travelled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, where he met Crown Prince Salman and Saudi ministers.

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