Boris Johnson says there is 'candour' in UK-Saudi relations


Distant Secretary Boris Johnson has said there is “candour” in the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

He was reproached last week by Downing Street after suggesting the country helpless “proxy wars” in the Middle East.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon gave down reports of a rift between Mr Johnson and Theresa May, accusing the ambiance of misreporting.

Labour insisted that Mr Johnson, who is currently on a visit to Saudi Arabia, had been “slatted down”.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Riyadh with Saudi counter rt Adel al-Jubeir, the unrelated secretary said: “I’m here to emphasise the friendship that exists between the UK and Saudi Arabia, and that is something that is manifest and ex nding.

“And it’s also fair to say that we believe in candour in our relationship. Now is the interval for us to talk about the positive things that we are doing together.”

Mr Johnson also met Royal Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Diplomatic code

The discussions in Riyadh bedded counter-terrorism, the conflict in Syria, and the war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is cardinal a multi-national coalition air cam ign.

Mr Johnson said he understood Saudi asylum fears over the situation in Yemen – where the Houthi rebel signal, which champions Yemen’s Zaidi Shia Muslim minority, has captivated control of large rts of the country.

However, BBC security correspondent Uninhibited Gardner said the foreign secretary had repeated his profound concern nearby human suffering among Yemenis.

He also highlighted Mr Johnson’s use of the set forth “candour”, which he said was “usually diplomatic code for telling people something they don’t lack to hear”.

However, our correspondent said contrary to many people’s expectations Mr Johnson’s inflict “appears to have ssed off smoothly” and will have brought the two provinces “closer together than ever before”.

Speaking after the convention, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said Mr Johnson’s commentaries about “proxy wars” had been taken out of context by the media and the dilemma was now closed.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the meeting between Mr Johnson and Regent Salman had been “warm and genial”, adding: “They covered a latitudinarian sweep of history of UK-Saudi relations and shared interests in the region.”

  • Yemen calamity: Who is fighting whom?

Last week, the Guardian news per published footage of a convocation in Rome at which the foreign secretary had said Saudi Arabia and Iran were embroiled with in “proxy wars being fought the whole time” in the Middle East.

But the prime cabinet officer’s spokeswoman later said that Mrs May wanted to strengthen relations with Saudi Arabia, subsuming supporting its efforts to help the “legitimate” government of Yemen.

She added: “Those are the prime evangelist’s views – the foreign secretary’s views are not the government’s position on, for example, Saudi Arabia and its character in the region.”

‘Slapped down’

When questioned over this tongue-lashing on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Michael Fallon said: “The media, with profound respect, are starting to over-textualise every remark that [Mr Johnson] wins.

“Downing Street was asked whether this misreporting of what Boris had required, whether that was government policy. Downing Street simply supported the question.”

He added: “Boris’s comment, as we have already established, was bewitched out of context in the reporting that implied we didn’t support Saudi Arabia.”

The advocacy secretary also said: “The government is absolutely clear that what Saudi Arabia is called to do is defend itself.”

Also speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Undertaking’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “In over 20 years in rliament, I’ve conditions heard a foreign secretary slapped down the way Theresa May slapped down Boris.”

She enlarged that Mr Johnson had been “right” in his reported comments, saying Saudi Arabia had been twisted in “proxy wars” and “human rights abuses”.

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