Building on the Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia last autumn, the visit will usher in a new era in bilateral relations focused on a partnership that delivers wide-ranging benefits for both the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We will also enhance our co-operation in tackling international challenges such as terrorism, extremism, the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen and other regional issues such as Iraq and Syria.
This will be the Crown Prince’s first visit to the UK since his appointment in June 2017 and since Saudi Arabia embarked on a major programme of domestic reforms. These include lifting the ban on women driving from June this year, opening up attendance at major sporting events to women and allowing cinemas to operate in the country.
Saudi Arabia has also set out a roadmap – Vision 2030 – to catalyse and open up the country’s economy over the next 15 years, which will provide opportunities for British businesses to help support delivery in areas such as education, entertainment and healthcare where they have world-class expertise.
The roadmap includes plans to become a global investment powerhouse with a more diversified economy and the visit will provide an opportunity to explore ways in which Saudi Arabia can, working with the City of London, achieve this goal and build on its investment here in the UK in sectors such as infrastructure.
During the visit, the Crown Prince will have a bilateral with the Prime Minister and meetings with other Cabinet Ministers.
Speaking ahead of the visit, the Prime Minister said:
The partnership between the UK and Saudi Arabia already helps make both of our countries safer through intelligence-sharing which has saved British lives, and more prosperous, with thousands of jobs created in the UK and substantial opportunities for British companies in Saudi Arabia. The visit of the Crown Prince will establish the platform for that relationship to become even stronger.
Saudi Arabia is changing. We have seen recent decisions to allow women to drive from June this year, a target for women to make up one third of the Saudi workforce by 2030, and a move to develop sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism. These are all sectors where the UK leads the world and where there are new opportunities to work together.
Our strong relationship with Saudi Arabia enables us to talk frankly and constructively about issues where we both have concerns, such as regional security and the conflict and humanitarian situation in Yemen.
Our vision for Global Britain is that of an outward-looking country strengthening our relationships around the world and standing up for our values, not turning in on ourselves and refusing to engage. And the Crown Prince’s visit will be an opportunity to do just that for the benefit of people here at home and in Saudi Arabia.
Further details of the visit will be made available in due course.