PM vows to strengthen UK links with Saudi Arabia

DAVID Cameron agreed to “strengthen co-operation” with Saudi Arabia yesterday despite concerns about the country’s human rights record and criticism of British arms sales to the desert kingdom.

The Prime Minister held talks with King Abdullah during a one-day visit to Riyadh designed to deepen ties with the oil-rich nation, a crucial trading partner for the UK in the Middle East.

“They discussed the importance of the UK-Saudi bilateral relationship and agreed to strengthen co-operation in a range of areas,” Downing Street said in a statement.

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The government sees strong relations with the Saudis as vital to advancing Britain’s interests in the region on a range of issues including energy security, counter-terrorism and political reform. Saudi Arabia is Britain’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East with bilateral trade worth £15 billion a year.