Liz Truss Says Saudi Arabia Is Not A Global Threat Like Putin
The foreign secretary has said Saudi Arabia doesn't pose the same level of threat to the world as Russia as the government continues to face questions over its ties to the human rights-abusing Gulf state.
"Saudi Arabia is not a global security threat in the way that Russia is and we have to work with them," Liz Truss told Sky News on Wednesday morning.
Boris Johnson will today visit Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates, in an attempt to convince the leaders of the oil-rich states to produce more oil and help bring down global prices.
This morning he is meeting Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, before heading to Saudi Arabia later to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The government is escalating efforts to reduce the amount of oil and gas imported from Russia after Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, however the Prime Minister has faced criticism for turning to Saudi Arabia, a regime which routinely abuses human rights, for assistance.
The country executed 81 men in a single day on Saturday, including political prisoners, and has one of the highest execution rates in the world.
Truss said she "is not condoning the policies of Saudi Arabia" but that the threat posed to the world by Putin's attack on Ukraine mean that the government has had to seek support from all of its partners.
"We are in an existential threat about European security and global security and we need to find alternative sources of oil and gas so that we are no longer dependent on Vladimir Putin and his appalling regime", she told host Kay Burley.
In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Truss said that while the UK "won't necessarily agree with them [Saudi Arabia] on everything", Putin was the "real threat" to global security."
"If we don't make sure that Vladimir Putin loses in Ukraine, the likelihood is he will want to go further," the Cabinet minister said.
"We have to stop him at all costs and we have to work with all partners around the world. We won’t necessarily agree with them on everything but it is so important that we stop Vladimir Putin.
"He is the real threat the world faces".
Asked about the UK's relationship with Saudi Arabia this week, the Prime Minister's official spokesperson insisted that the government does not "shy away" from raising human rights abuse with partners like the Saudi regime.
"The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty in every country as a matter of principle," they said.
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