Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - British PM Johnson meets Saudi Arabia crown prince



British PM Johnson meets Saudi Arabia crown prince

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) is welcomed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a one-day visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Wednesday. AFP

British PM Johnson meets Saudi Arabia crown prince

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with oil-rich Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to lobby for higher production on March 16 after Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine sent markets into turmoil.

Johnson, one of the few Western leaders to visit Riyadh since the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, said he had a “very productive conversation” with Prince Mohammed, but did not announce any concessions from his hosts.

“I think you need to talk to the Saudis about that,” Johnson told British media after the talks.

He added that there was a “lot of agreement that it’s important to avoid inflation” and “an agreement that we need to work together to bring peace to Ukraine”.

The UK leader is hoping the oil-rich Gulf states will raise production to help calm oil prices, which soared to nearly $140 a barrel before dropping below $100, and help end the West’s dependency on Russian oil following the offensive.

Johnson also “raised the UK’s concerns about ongoing human rights issues”, according to a statement released by his Downing Street office.

His visit coincides with fresh condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s record after 81 people were put to death in a mass execution on March 12. Rights groups questioned whether they had received fair trials.

It also coincided with the release of British-Iranians Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori after years in detention in Iran, following lengthy negotiations partly brokered by Oman.

In their talks, Johnson and Prince Mohammed discussed “regional and international issues of common interest and efforts exerted in their regard, including the developments in Ukraine”, the official Saudi Press Agency said, without mentioning any talks on oil.

Johnson met Prince Mohammed after discussing “the stability of the global oil markets” with Emirati royal Sheikh Mohammed, according to the UAE’s official WAM news agency.

“The leaders welcomed the long-standing partnership between our two countries and discussed opportunities to increase collaboration between the UK and UAE on energy security, green technology, and trade,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

He also held talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the UAE.

Johnson’s spokesman said he would also ask Prince Mohammed to condemn Russia’s President Vladimir Putin over the assault on Ukraine.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are two of the world’s biggest oil exporters and both have ties to Moscow, have so far avoided taking a position against Russia.

But Johnson said before leaving that the impact of Putin’s “brutal and unprovoked” assault will be felt far beyond Europe.

He said as Western sanctions begin to bite, a new international coalition was needed to offset their impact on consumers already feeling the pinch from rising inflation.

“The world must wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons and starve Putin’s addiction to oil and gas,” he said in a statement.

“Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are key international partners in that effort.”

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are the UK’s two largest economic partners in the region, with bilateral trade worth £12.2 billion ($16 billion) and £10.4 billion respectively in 2020, Johnson’s office said.

Russia is the world’s largest producer of gas and one of the biggest oil producers.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,