British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has underscored the need for countries to work together “to improve energy security and reduce reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.”
Meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Wednesday, Johnson “set out the UK’s view that we are facing a fundamentally changed world order following Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
Johnson and bin Salman “agreed to collaborate to maintain stability in the energy market and continue the transition to renewable and clean technology,” according to a UK government statement.
“They also committed to boost cooperation in defence, security, trade, and culture, welcoming a new UK-Saudi Strategic Partnership Agreement and a major investment announced today by the alfanar group in green aviation fuel in Teesside.”
The British premier “praised progress on Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, including on women’s empowerment and employment, but raised the UK’s concerns about ongoing human rights issues.”
The leaders also discussed key regional issues, the statement added.
The UK leader is attempting to rein in oil prices, which soared to nearly $140 a barrel before dropping below $100, and help end the West’s dependency on Russian oil following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
His visit coincides with fresh condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record after 81 people were put to death in a mass execution on Saturday. Rights groups questioned whether they had received fair trials.
“The leaders welcomed the longstanding 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 in London.
Before leaving for Riyadh, Johnson promised to raise human rights issues with MBS, but he also stressed the UK’s “very important relationship” with the oil-rich Gulf.
“It’s not just a question of looking at the OPEC countries and what they can do to increase supply, though that is important,” Johnson told British media.
“When we look at the dependency the West in particular has built up on Putin’s hydrocarbons, on Putin’s oil and gas, we can see what a mistake that was because he’s been able to blackmail the West.”
Sources: TRT World, Al Jazeera