News story

Defence Secretary Discusses Regional Threats On Middle East Visit

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Defence Secretary met ministers in Saudi Arabia and Oman to discuss regional security and international co-ordination against ISIL.

In his first meeting with the newly appointed Saudi Defence Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Mr. Fallon reaffirmed the UK’s enduring commitment to the security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. This comes as both countries look at ways of working together to deal with the global threat posed by regional instability.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

Our Defence relationship with Saudi Arabia is strong, and this visit has been about what more we can do to strengthen our position as security partners.

It was important to hear directly from the new Saudi ministers on the threats to regional stability which directly impact the safety of Britain’s streets. There was firm agreement that as well as military action we need political, financial and cultural efforts to discredit and defeat ISIL’s poisonous ideology.

Mr Fallon used the talks - which included meetings with Crown Prince and Deputy Premier His Royal Highness Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior - to discuss the situation in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, including what further action is needed to tackle extremism.

In Oman, the Defence Secretary met the Defence Affairs Minister He Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harub Al Busaidi and Minister for the Royal Office Fariq Sultain Bin Mohammed Al Numani, the Defence Secretary.

Oman is a longstanding British ally in the Gulf with shared interests across diplomatic, economic as well as defence matters. Our defence and security relationship is strong with high levels of interaction, including regular training between UK and Omani armed forces.

Speaking from Oman, the Defence Secretary said:

Britain values greatly our relationship with Oman and is grateful for the role it has played during this particularly challenging time in the region.

Omani security is also our security and this was an opportunity to renew our commitment to working closely in military, counter-terrorism and intelligence fields to tackle shared threats to stability.