(Speaker's notes, may differ from delivered version)
On the occasion of Saudi National Day, I am reminded of the great history of Saudi Arabia. Today, the Saudi people can be rightly proud of their nation, of their history and their developments. Saudi Arabia is a strong nation, an important player in the world and a key partner of the UK. The development of this nation began with unification.
Relations between our two Kingdoms long predate the birth of modern Saudi Arabia. British explorers travelled through Central Arabia as far back as the early 1800s, meeting tribal leaders and learning the ways of the desert and in 1910, Political Advisor, Captain Shakespear was the first Englishman to meet the founder of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud. The result of this, the Anglo Arab Agreement, remains the foundation of our strong relationship today.
I was honoured to present my credentials to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, last month. I listened closely to the King’s speech. The King spoke about the need for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The United Kingdom has also suffered greatly from the scourge of terrorism. I am pleased to say that the United Kingdom has announced its intention to participate in the international counter terrorism alliance against extremism. I look forward to our two great countries continuing to work together on this and other issues in the future.