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Theresa May sparks backlash over Saudi Arabia with G20 terror funding vow

Theresa May sparks backlash over Saudi Arabia with G20 terror funding vow

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Theresa May faced a fresh backlash over UK ties to Saudi Arabia as she vowed to crack down on the financing of terrorism.


Ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg, the Prime Minister urged world leaders to tackle the scourge of terror “from every angle” including cash sources and the dispersal of foreign fighters.

But Labour boss Jeremy Corbyn and a string of other party leaders condemned Mrs May for failing to name the Saudis as a funder of terror.

Downing Street is reluctant to stoke tensions with the Gulf state, which spends billion on UK arms and apparently hands over key terror intelligence.

But the Government has been accused of suppressing a report which apparently identifies Saudi Arabia's links with Islamist terror groups.

Mrs May said: “As we deny physical space to terrorists to operate in theatre, we must outpace the terrorist methodology as it develops to attack other vulnerable targets and increases inspired attacks.

“We must therefore combat the threat from every angle. This includes taking measures against permissive environments for terrorist financing, and monitoring the dispersal of foreign fighters from battle.”

But Mr Corbyn told the Guardian: “If Theresa May is serious about cutting off financial and ideological support for terrorism, she should publish the suppressed report on foreign funding of UK-based extremism and have difficult conversations with Saudia Arabia, not hug Saudi and allied Gulf states even closer.”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the Saudi kingdom was a “key exporter of extremist ideology” and accused the UK of “looking the other way in exchange for massive arms deals”.

Green leader Caroline Lucas and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford also piled in on Mrs May’s failure to take the Saudis to task.

Downing Street has so far refused to publish the report commissioned by David Cameron and completed last year into the foreign funding and support of jihadist groups.

Mrs May will hold a bilateral meeting with US president Donald Trump tomorrow to discuss the threat of North Korea and climate change.

She will also hold one-on-ones with Chinese president Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.