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British Prime Minister Theresa May visits Riyadh after surprise Baghdad visit

May is set to hold separate talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during her one-day visit on issues including the Yemen crisis.

Published: 30th November 2017 12:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th November 2017 12:41 AM   |  A+A-

British Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo | AP)

By AFP

RIYADH: British Prime Minister Theresa May landed in Riyadh Wednesday for talks with the Saudi king and crown prince, with Yemen's brewing humanitarian crisis and the kingdom's sweeping reforms on the top of her agenda.

May flew into the Saudi capital on the second leg of her Middle East tour, following a surprise visit to Baghdad where she met her Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi and hailed recent military gains against the Islamic State group.

Her arrival in Riyadh was confirmed by the official Saudi Press Agency.

May is set to hold separate talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during her one-day visit on issues including the Yemen crisis.

"I'm very concerned about the humanitarian crisis that has developed in Yemen, particularly most recently," May said in comments from Iraq to the BBC.

Saudi Arabia is Britain's largest trading partner in the Middle East, and London has signed off on more than £3.3 billion ($4.4 billion/3.7 billion euros) worth of arms sales to Riyadh since March 2015.

During that time a Saudi-led coalition has embarked on a bombing campaign in Yemen that has been condemned for contributing to a humanitarian disaster.

The war has killed some 8,600 people, while a further 2,000 have died of cholera.

May is also expected to express Britain's support for Prince Mohammed's ambitious reform drive, which include a historic decision allowing women to drive from next June.

May left London late Tuesday for a three-day visit to the Middle East in a bid to bolster regional ties.

The British leader will be in Jordan on Thursday on the final leg of her tour for meetings with King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Hani Mulki.



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