DUBAI (Reuters) – Britain’s foreign minister Dominic Raab met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the kingdom on Monday and discussed Iran in addition to bilateral ties and climate change, the British foreign office said.
Raab’s visit comes as global powers work to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that Saudi Arabia had opposed for not addressing Tehran’s missile programme and support for regional proxies, including in Yemen.
“The UK reaffirms our commitment to tackling our shared security challenges, including Iranian threats and the continued conflict in Yemen,” a foreign office statement quoted Raab as saying, adding that Riyadh was a close friend and long-standing partner.
Saudi Arabia, which is locked in a regional rivalry with foe Iran, has urged global powers to secure a stronger deal of longer duration at talks in Vienna that aim to bring both the United States and Iran back into full compliance with the pact.
Washington quit the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to gradually violate several of the pact’s nuclear restrictions.
The Saudi foreign ministry said in a Twitter post that the kingdom’s de facto ruler and the British minister had discussed efforts to enhance regional security and stability as well as joint cooperation in various fields.
Saud Arabia leads a military coalition that has been battling Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which has launched missile and drone attacks on the kingdom.
Raad, who also met with his Saudi counterpart, discussed trade and climate change and raised human rights concerns “notably around justice reform and freedom of media expression”, the foreign office said.
Saudi Arabia’s human rights record came under the spotlight following the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate by Saudi agents, as well as the detention of women’s rights activists in the kingdom.
(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah in Cairo; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)