Theresa May has promised to deliver a “robust” message to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen when she meets him at the G20 summit.
Last night’s face-to-face meeting with the Crown Prince in Argentina was likely to prove the most difficult encounter of the two-day summit of major economies for the Prime Minister.
The UK has issued demands for a transparent and credible investigation into the death last month of Mr Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and has also called for an end to bloodshed in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Houthi rebels.
Mrs May has faced calls to halt arms sales to the UK’s traditional ally in the Gulf.
Amnesty International UK’s director Kate Allen said she should use her meeting with the Crown Prince to “politely but firmly insist that only a UN investigation into the grisly murder of Jamal Khashoggi is going to be sufficient”.
Amnesty also called on the PM to urge Mohammed to order the release of women’s rights activists including Loujain al-Hathloul.
Speaking to Sky News ahead of the meeting, Mrs May said: “I am going to speak to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia but it is the relationship we have with Saudi Arabia that enables me to sit down with him and be robust on our views on two issues.
“First of all the terrible killing of Jamal Khashoggi, and the message I will be giving and the message we have given from the UK from the time it happened is that the Saudi Arabians need to ensure that their investigation is a full investigation, that it is credible, that it is transparent and that people can have confidence in the outcome of it and that those responsible are held to account.
“But I will also be raising the situation in the Yemen where the humanitarian crisis is getting worse, we are very concerned about that.
“We are a major donor to the Yemen, but we believe that now is the time, there is an opportunity to find a solution, to come to a political solution because that is the way to ensure the future and a safe and secure future for the people of the Yemen.
“I will be encouraging all parties, including the Saudi Arabians, to ensure that they sit down at the upcoming UN-led talks in Stockholm in the coming days and weeks and find a way through this, find a political solution for a stable future for Yemen.”
Before her meeting with the Crown Prince, Mrs May held talks with the summit’s host, President Mauricio Macri, at which the long-standing argument over the sovereignty of the Falklands is likely to be overshadowed by discussions on trade.
Mrs May is not expected to have bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Buenos Aires, as relations between the UK and Russia remain in the deep-freeze following the Salisbury poisonings and the annexation of Crimea.