Press release: Visit of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia concludes


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The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, HRH Mohammed bin Salman, concluded his 3-day visit to the UK yesterday with bilateral meetings with the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

During the visit, the Crown Prince’s first official overseas trip, he had engagements with the Queen, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, and meetings with the Prime Minister. He also met the Archbishop of Canterbury, reiterating his vision of Saudi Arabia as a home of moderate Islam open to the world and all religions.

During the visit the Prime Minister and Crown Prince launched the UK-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council, where they committed to a long-term partnership supporting the Crown Prince’s reform programme ‘Vision 2030’ and further strengthening political and security co-operation.

Co-operation on Vision 2030 will involve Saudi trade and investment in UK sectors such as education, financial services, culture, healthcare, life sciences, technology, clean energy and defence. This investment will be aided by newly Special Representatives for Education and Health and the establishment of ‘Private Sector Groups’, led by UK experts in their fields, who will advise on delivery and Saudi reforms. The opportunities discussed this week are expected to bring over £65 billion to the UK economy over a 10-year period, a recognition of the UK’s global leadership in these industries.

The conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen was an important focus of talks. The UK and Saudi Arabia agreed on the importance of reaching a political solution to the crisis in Yemen and resolved to work closely together and with partners, including the newly appointed UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, to achieve this. The UK and Saudi Arabia will continue to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where the UK is the third largest humanitarian donor.

The 2 countries agreed to work together with the UN on a mechanism for payment of public sector salaries, protecting livelihoods and Yemeni institutions. The UK and Saudi Arabia will continue to strengthen the UN verification and inspection mechanism to ensure that all Yemeni ports can remain fully open to commercial and humanitarian supplies.

Speaking on Friday, the Foreign Secretary said:

The Crown Prince’s sweeping reform programme is bringing positive economic and social changes to the country. These reforms are hugely beneficial to Saudi Arabia and, as we have seen this week with Saudi Arabia’s pledge to bring £65 billion to the UK over the next 10 years, to the UK too.

This landmark visit has been an opportunity to strengthen and broaden our relationship into new areas. Education, healthcare, clean energy, culture, sports and tech are all sectors where we have world-leading expertise and which are fundamental to the successful realisation of Saudi plans.

On foreign policy we look forward to building on the important and productive discussions during this visit on Yemen as we seek to find a political solution to conflict.

Of course, there are areas where we do not agree with our Saudi colleagues. But working closely together allows us to have constructive discussions on these issues, and we have used this week as an opportunity to do that.

  • read the United Kingdom-Saudi Arabia Joint Communiqué regarding the visit

  • the newly announced Private Sector Groups will be convened by Catherine McGuiness (Asset management and Financial Services), Lord Ajar Kakkar (Life Sciences), Melanie Leech (Real Estate and Regeneration), Mike Lynch (Technology and Innovation) and Sir Gerry Grimstone (Privatisation and Corporatisation). Saudi Arabia is expected to appoint co-convenors for these groups in due course.

  • following this week’s visit the UK government has also announced new Special Representatives to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 on education (Sir Anthony Seldon) and healthcare (Sir Mike Richards)

A number of agreements have been signed between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia during the visit:

  1. Department for Education/Saudi Ministry of Education Memorandum of Understanding

  2. Ministry of Culture/Department for Culture, Media and Sport Executive Programme of Co-operation on culture and the creative industries

  3. General Entertainment Authority/ Department for Culture, Media and Sport Memorandum of Understanding on Entertainment co-operation

  4. Ministry of Labour/Department for Work and Pensions Memorandum of Understanding on labour co-operation

  5. Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy/Saudi Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Memorandum of Understanding on clean energy

  6. Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority/ Department of International Trade Framework Co-operation Programme

  7. Framework Agreement on Cyber Security between the UK and the National Cybersecurity Authority

  8. Memorandum of Intent to purchase 48 Typhoon swing role aircraft

  9. General Authority for Military Industries/Ministry of Defence Memorandum of Understanding on research and development

  10. King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre/Department for International Development Joint Co-operation Memorandum

  11. Saudi Fund for Development/Department for International Development Letter of Intent on financing of development projects in Africa

  12. Saudi Fund for Development/Department for International Development Joint Co-operation Arrangement

  13. Memorandum of Understanding on Visa Co-operation

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