Visit of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

To ask the Foreign Secretary to make a statement on diplomatic and economic relations with Saudi Arabia.

The Minister for the Middle East (Alistair Burt)

I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Foreign Secretary, as he is currently at an engagement at the palace. The Prime Minister has invited the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, to visit the United Kingdom. We are delighted to welcome him and his delegation on his first official visit to the UK, which is taking place from today until Friday.

During the visit, the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince will launch a new and ambitious strategic partnership between our two countries, which will allow us to discuss a range of bilateral matters and foreign policy issues of mutual interest. The UK Government have a close and wide-ranging relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the UK’s third fastest growing market for exports, and we continue to work together to address regional and international issues, including Yemen. The visit will allow for a substantive discussion between the Crown Prince and the Prime Minister on the need for a political resolution to the conflict in Yemen, and how to address the humanitarian crisis.

The UK fully supports the Crown Prince’s social and economic reform programme, Vision 2030. His visit is an opportunity for him to underline his vision of an outward- looking Saudi Arabia, one that embraces a moderate and tolerant form of Islam, and a more inclusive Saudi society. This includes greater freedom for women, in line with the recent statements and reforms made by the Crown Prince. We believe these reforms are the best course for Saudi Arabia’s future security, stability and prosperity, and it is right that the UK supports the Crown Prince in his Vision 2030 endeavours.