Theresa May lands in Saudi Arabia, forgoing headscarf

Andrew Cummings
April 12, 2017

"As it stands, the British-Saudi relationship is damaging to the people of Saudi Arabia, Britain and the wider Middle East, and helping to export insecurity to the rest of the world".

Commenting on Mrs May's Saudi visit, human rights pressure group Reprieve said: "As the prime minister makes ever greater overtures towards the Saudi government, the kingdom continues to carry out appalling abuses, including torture, forced "confessions" and death sentences for juveniles". In the wake of last month s deadly attack on the British parliament, she said that by working with countries such as Jordan "we are helping to keep British people safe".

'It's important for me as a woman leader and as leader of the government of the United Kingdom to maintain the relationships that are important to us as a country, for our security, and our trade for the future, ' she said. Her visit takes place amid fears for three prisoners who were arrested as children in 2012 and sentenced to death on charges relating to protests.

The country has also been sharply criticised for the devastation caused by its ongoing airstrikes in Yemen - contributing to the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Rolet will attend a roundtable discussion which Prime Minister May will host at the Saudi stock exchange on Tuesday, a spokesman for the prime minister's office confirmed. British Prime Minister Theresa May has arrived in Saudi Arabia on a trip aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and increasing trade with the largest Arab economy.

During the meeting at the Royal Palace, King Salman awarded the Prime Minister the Order of King Abdulaziz, an honour that has been bestowed previously on other leaders including David Cameron, Barack Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Saudi Arabia has bought more than $5 billion (4.7 billion euros) worth of arms from the United States and Britain since the Yemen intervention, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute think-tank says.

Theresa May has said she hopes to be an inspiration to oppressed women in Saudi Arabia by showing people there "what women can achieve".

"Yes, we will be raising the humanitarian issue", she said. "We are concerned about the humanitarian situation", she told the BBC. But now the continuing starvation in Yemen, and civilian casualties from the Saudi-led - and UK-backed - blockade and attacks on rebel forces there have only raised the pitch of the controversy. "And there is so much we can do together on trade, with huge potential for Saudi investment to provide a boost to the British economy", May said ahead of her visit".

Vision 2030's goals included increasing women's participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%.

Other reports by iNewsToday