Thank you for contacting me about plans for HRH Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to visit the UK.
I understand that the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince held a call on 17 August, and agreed to meet in person at the earliest opportunity.
I appreciate that you have concerns about a potential visit, however, Saudi Arabia is a vital economic and defence partner, investing billions in the UK and helping to ensure the security of the British public. Working with Gulf partners is also more essential than ever following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, both to increase the diplomatic and economic pressure on Putin’s regime and to minimise the impact of the conflict on the global energy market.
The Prime Minister met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on 19 October 2023. The leaders agreed that the loss of innocent lives in Israel and Gaza has been horrific and underscored the need to avoid any further escalation in the region, agreeing to coordinate action on this front. Additionally, the Prime Minister encouraged the Crown Prince to use Saudi’s leadership in the region to support stability, both now and in the long-term.
I would like to make clear that no aspect of the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia prevents us from speaking frankly about human rights. Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office human rights priority country, and the UK regularly discusses human rights with the Saudi authorities through a range of diplomatic channels including Ministers, our Ambassador and the British Embassy in Riyadh.
Moreover, as I am sure you are aware, the UK firmly opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances. This is especially the case for juveniles. From the office of Prime Minister down, the UK regularly raises concerns about the use of the death penalty, including individual cases, with the Saudi authorities at the highest levels, and will continue to do so. The UK also works through multilateral organisations, such as the UN Human Rights Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to raise concerns about the use of the death penalty. In addition, the British Embassy Riyadh closely monitors the cases of all juvenile death penalty defendants and regularly attempts to attend their trials.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP