Riyadh, 17 March 2022 (TDI): After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with de facto ruler Crown Prince of oil-riched Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman to plead for higher production because of the contemporary chaotic scenario of the market.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is one of the few Western leaders, who has visited Riyadh after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate of Istanbul in 2018.
According to Johnson, he had a “very productive conversation” with Prince Mohammed but did not announce any concessions from his hosts. He went on to say that there was a lot of unanimity that it is really necessary to avoid inflation about which they need to work together to restore peace to Ukraine.
The UK leader expressed his hope that the oil-rich Gulf states would increase the production to bring relief in oil prices, which has soared to about $140 per barrel before falling below $100.
This would be helpful for the elimination of the West’s dependency on Russian energy following the invasion. According to the statement released by the Downing Street office, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also raised the UK’s concerns about ongoing human rights issues.
Visit of British Prime Minister synchronously coincides with the recent condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s record after 81 people were put to death in a mass execution on last Saturday. Rights groups questioned whether they had received fair trials.
It also coincided with the freedom of British-Iranians Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori after years of incarceration in Iran, after prolonged negotiations partly brokered by Oman.
According to the official Saudi Press Agency, regional and international issues of mutual interests and the efforts exerted in this regard, including the developments in Ukraine has been discussed between Johnson and Prince Mohammad bin Salman without highlighting the oil issue.
British Prime Minister Johnson visited Prince Mohammed after discussing “the stability of the global oil markets” with Emirati Royal, Sheikh Mohammed. According to the Downing Street Spokesperson, the leaders had welcomed the long-standing partnership between both states.
They also discussed the opportunities to increase mutual coordination between the UK and UAE on energy security, green technology, and trade sectors.
Visit of UK’s Prime Minister to UAE
In the United Arab Emirates, he also met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed. According to Johnson’s spokesperson, he also asked Prince Mohammed to condemn the Russia’s President Vladimir Putin for the attack on Ukraine.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the two world’s biggest oil exporters and both have affable ties with Moscow. Both have so far avoided taking a position against Russia.
However, before departing, Johnson stated that the consequences of Putin’s ” brutal and unprovoked ” expedition will be felt far beyond Europe.
He stated that when Western sanctions begin to grind, a new international coalition is required to mitigate their impact on consumers who are already feeling the strain from growing prices.
Further he said in a statement that the world must have to dissuade itself off Russian hydrocarbons. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates both are the key international partners in that effort.
Johnson’s office said that both states are the UK’s largest economic partners in the region with bilateral trade worth Â£12.2 billion and Â£10.4 billion respectively in 2020.
Russia is the world’s largest producer of gas and one of the biggest oil producers. In the allegiance of the United States, Britain plans to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year, as part of wide-ranging sanctions targeting Russian businesses and billionaires.
US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed have not talked since Biden entered office and threatened to treat the country as a “pariah” state in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder, which the CIA blamed on the Saudi monarch.