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Boris Johnson defiant in Saudi Arabia

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By Catherine Hardy  with REUTERS
Boris Johnson defiant in Saudi Arabia

<p><br /> <br /> </p> <p>Visting Riyadh, the UK’s foreign secretary has reiterated his country’s close ties to Saudi Arabia, days after making comments widely interpreted as critical of the conservative Gulf Arab country.</p> <p>In a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir, <strong>Boris Johnson</strong> said: “I am here to emphasise the friendship that exists between the UK and Saudi Arabia.”</p> <p>“It is something that is developing and expanding.”</p> <p>“It is also fair to say that we believe in candour in our relationship. Now is the time for us to talk about the positive things that we are doing together.”</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What did Boris say last week?</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>Footage appeared in the British media last Thursday of Johnson accusing Saudi Arabia and Iran of stoking proxy wars in the Middle East.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What has the UK government said?</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman said Johnson’s remarks do not reflect actual policy.</p> <p>Saudi Arabia is a long-term ally of the UK.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>What has Saudi Arabia said?</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>Asked if Riyadh had been getting mixed messages from Britain, Jubeir replied “Absolutely not!”</p> <p>He said Johnson’s comments had been misconstrued and the UK and Saudi Arabia had enjoyed a long, strategic relationship over the last 100 years.</p> <br /> <br /> <h3><strong>Yemen</strong></h3> <br /> <br /> <p>British military personnel have been involved with advising the Saudi-led coalition as it pursues a campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen’s civil war.</p> <p>The war has killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians.</p> <p>volved with advising the Saudi-led coalition as it pursues a campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen’s civil war. The war has killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians, and unleashed a humanitarian crisis in the poorest country in the Middle East.</p> <br /> <br />