British Foreign Minister in Saudi for talks on Khashoggi, Yemen
British Foreign Minister, Jeremy Hunt, held talks yesterday with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Riyadh-based media said, during a visit to press the kingdom over journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder and the escalating Yemen war. Hunt, who is also expected to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, discussed the "latest developments in the region" with the 82-year-old monarch, the Saudi Press Agency said.
Speaking on the Saudi journalist's death, Hunt, ahead of his trip, said, "The international community remain united in horror at the brutal murder of Khashoggi." He said it's clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear. "We encourage the Saudi authorities to co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation...so that we deliver justice for his family and the world," he added.
Britain, along with the United States, is major suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition backing the Yemen government in its fight against Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels. Britain is seeking support among regional partners for new action at the UN Security Council for peace talks in Yemen. For this, Hunt also met Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
"The human cost of war in Yemen is incalculable: with millions displaced, famine and disease rife and years of bloodshed. The only solution is now a political decision to set aside arms and pursue peace," Hunt said ahead of his trip to the Gulf.
Calling the war-torn situation in Yemen a "manmade humanitarian catastrophe," Hunt said, "Now is the window to make a difference, and to get behind both the UN peace process and current UK efforts in the Security Council." Hunt's visit comes after British Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Simon McDonald, held talks with Prince Mohammed and Jubeir in Riyadh, capital and financial hub of Saudi Arabia.
During his Gulf tour, Hunt, who will also be visiting the United Arab Emirates, will meet Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani. The Foreign Office also said Hunt would raise the case of Matthew Hedges, a PhD student, who denies charges of spying in the UAE.