canceled UK journey earlier than welcoming Putin – FT

34 canceled UK journey earlier than welcoming Putin – FT

Saudi Arabia scrapped plans for Mohammed bin Salman to go to London earlier this month, days earlier than he hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin in Riyadh, the Monetary Occasions reported on Friday, citing UK authorities officers.

London and Riyadh had been in negotiations a few potential go to of the Crown Prince, who’s also referred to as MBS, for months already. UK officers mentioned the 2 sides had been working in the direction of December 3 as a doable date, however the plans have been abruptly shelved final week.

As a substitute, MBS hosted Putin in Riyadh on Wednesday, amid the Russian president’s one-day tour of the area – his first journey to the Center East because the starting of the battle with Ukraine in February 2022.

Senior UK officers and MPs have been alarmed by the proximity of the Crown Prince’s go to to Britain which was apparently canceled and Putin’s Center East tour. Former Tory chief Sir Iain Duncan Smith described the event to FT as “astonishing,” and the obvious postponement as a “snub.”

One other senior Tory MP, Robert Courts, mentioned the postponement of the go to is “a priority as a result of it suggests a UK diplomatic failure within the face of a coordinated diplomatic offensive by Putin.”

“The UK ought to urgently overview the sources and technique behind its international and protection coverage to forestall the slide of states in the direction of our strategic opponents,” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar, nevertheless, denied any connection between the canceled go to and the Russian president’s journey, insisting that “anybody accustomed to the UK-Saudi relationship will know that the suggestion of a snub is nonsense.”

“The connection is as robust because it has ever been and can stay so. These wishing to interpret issues in a different way are sorely mistaken,” he advised FT.

The UK Overseas Workplace neither confirmed nor denied the postponement when reached by FT for remark, with its spokesperson successfully dodging the query. “It’s not for the UK to touch upon the diplomatic engagements of different international locations. We work carefully with Saudi Arabia throughout a spread of areas, together with on offering help to Ukraine and addressing the present disaster in Israel,” the spokesperson mentioned.

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