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Boris Johnson defiant in Saudi Arabia

Boris Johnson defiant in Saudi Arabia
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By Catherine Hardy with REUTERS
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The UK's foreign secretary has reiterated his country's close ties with Riyadh, days after making comments widely interpreted as critical of the conservative Gulf state.

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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.

In a joint news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir, Boris Johnson said: “I am here to emphasise the friendship that exists between the UK and Saudi Arabia.”

“It is something that is developing and expanding.”

“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.”

What did Boris say last week?

Footage appeared in the British media last Thursday of Johnson accusing Saudi Arabia and Iran of stoking proxy wars in the Middle East.

What has the UK government said?

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman said Johnson’s remarks do not reflect actual policy.

Saudi Arabia is a long-term ally of the UK.

What has Saudi Arabia said?

Asked if Riyadh had been getting mixed messages from Britain, Jubeir replied “Absolutely not!”

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.

Yemen

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.

The war has killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians.

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.

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