Published: Wed, April 05, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

British PM arrives in Saudi Arabia on mission to boost ties

The Prime Minister is visiting Jordan and Saudi Arabia and will pledge more United Kingdom support for airstrikes, new counter-terrorism measures and humanitarian efforts.

Theresa May has been on a charm offensive in recent months as she attempts to secure new trade deals for Britain upon its exit from the European Union.

"Unless the prime minister challenges the Saudi regime over its abuses it will be very clear she's ready to sacrifice human rights".

A Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out a bombing campaign in support of Yemen's internationally recognized government against Iran-backed Huthi rebels who have seized large parts of the Arabian Peninsula country.

An anti-war activist last week attempted a citizen's arrest of Assiri, before another threw an egg that hit the spokesman in the back.

The LSE and other top stock exchanges are pitching to win a slice of state oil company Saudi Aramco's initial public offering, expected to be the world's largest.

"We have no difficulty in raising hard issues with those that we meet with, be it in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere around the world", she said.

During her visit, the Prime Minister is expected to say that the tragic attack in Westminster on 22 March "showed only too starkly that terrorism is an evil facing us all and we must come together to fight it".

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May has said she would be looking to use the "immense potential for Saudi investment to provide a boost to the British economy" during her trip to the region. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama also declined to wear headscarves during visits to the country.

She was accused of failing to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier this year.The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said May must put human rights and global law at the centre of her talks with the Saudis.

Amnesty International's head of policy and government affairs in the United Kingdom urged Mrs May to use the trip to highlight Saudi Arabia's "totally unacceptable" human rights record.

Saudi Arabia denies its forces in Yemen target civilians.

"The security of those Yemeni civilians, who are being killed and injured by these reckless air strikes, must be on the agenda".

Britain is a major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, and has faced repeated calls to suspend sales over Riyadh's military intervention in neighbouring Yemen.

The visit to Saudi is the second leg of Mrs May's Gulf tour.

Drawing mixed reactions on social media, British Prime Minister Theresa May did not wear a headscarf during her visit as most Saudi women do.

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