UK foreign secretary to visit Saudi Arabia for trade and security talks

Liz Truss is seeking closer economic ties with Gulf region

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to discuss improving economic and security ties.

She will meet her Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan to talk about improved co-operation on regional security, development, human rights and counterterrorism.

The UK Foreign Office said they would look at how the two countries can boost economic ties as Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its economy.

“Closer security and economic ties with Gulf allies will help us deliver jobs and opportunities for people back in the UK and ensure, as friends and partners, that we are operating from a position of strength in the world,” said Ms Truss.

“I want a closer trading and investment relationship with the Gulf and for us to collaborate more closely on issues like intelligence sharing, development, security and defence.”

The UK is seeking ambitious post-Brexit trade deals and has already begun a process that could lead to a free trade agreement with the Gulf Co-operation Council. It has also recently agreed to significantly expand the UAE-UK Sovereign Investment Partnership.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, met Ms Truss on Monday for talks on enhancing UAE-UK co-operation in several areas, including economic, trade, investment and climate change.

Ms Truss will then head to Qatar, where the British embassy to Afghanistan has been temporarily relocated, for talks on security and the economy.

The Foreign Office said Ms Truss saw Saudi Arabia and Qatar “as important partners in deepening the UK’s economic, technology and security and defence ties with friends and allies around the world”.

She will also reportedly visit India this week.

Updated: October 19th 2021, 11:21 PM