UK Cozies Up to Saudi Arabia Despite War Crimes

Saudi Arabia is planning to list less than 5% of the oil producing company, the largest in the world, the Associated Press reports.

The Prime Minister added that there had "already been some changes" as a result of her raising such issues, and highlighted that during her trip she would be meeting a female minister who she would talk to about the role she and other Saudi women play in society.

May insisted the aims of the Gulf kingdom are directly linked to those of the UK and that oppressed Saudi women would be inspired by her very presence in the country. "We will be supporting that through the aid and support that we give", she said.

She said it was important for Britain to maintain global relationships so that she is in a position to raise human rights issues when necessary.

"I hope also that people see what women can achieve and how women can be in significant positions, " she said.

The British premier on Tuesday met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the country s interior minister and first in line to the throne, and discussed "joint cooperation in combating extremism and fighting terrorism", state news agency SPA said.

"The important thing for the United Kingdom when we meet people and we want to raise issues of human rights is if we have the relationship with them, then we are able to do that", May said.

The UK enjoys a "cozy relationship" with Saudi Arabia that is incompatible with the human rights values they espouse, human rights activist Peter Tatchell told Radio Sputnik.

"Unless the prime minister challenges the Saudi regime over its abuses this week, it will be clear she is ready to sacrifice human rights and security on the altar of the arms trade", he said in a statement.

The prime minister, speaking at Lancaster House in January, said she would not seek to maintain the UK's membership of the EU's single market.

Rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been among organisations calling for an end to arms sales from Britain and the United States to Saudi Arabia over the coalition's actions in Yemen.

Under the kingdom's dress code, Saudi women are required to wear a headscarf, hijab or niqab with loose, black robes or abayas in public places, but covering one's head is not required for foreigners.

May also pointed to social reforms announced in the Vision 2030 programme, including plans to increase women's participation in the workforce from 22 to 28 percent by 2020.

May is also holding talks with Princess Reema, vice-president of the Saudi General Sports Authority.

  • Leroy Wright