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Saudi ambassador: Media reports damaging Saudi-UK relations

THE LEVANT NEWS — Saudi-UK relations are at risk because of the “alarming change” in the way the kingdom is being portrayed in the British media, by some members of parliament and non-governmental organisations, Saudi Ambassador to Britain Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdulaziz warned.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Saudi ambassador said: “The Kingdom has always had to deal with a lack of understanding and misconceptions, but on this occasion I feel compelled to address some of the recent criticisms.”

“The importance of Saudi Arabia to the UK and the Middle East’s security, as well as its vital role in the larger Arab world as the epicentre of Islam, seems to be of little concern to those who have fomented this change. Yet it should be worrying to all those who do not want to see potentially serious repercussions that could damage the mutually beneficial strategic partnership that our countries have so long enjoyed,” he said.

The ambassador said Saudi Arabia is a sovereign state led by its rulers alone who are led by Islam alone.

“Our religion is Islam and our constitution is based on the Holy Qu’ran. Our justice system is based on Sharia law and implemented by our independent judiciary,” he added.

“Just as we respect the local traditions, customs, laws and religion of Britain, we expect Britain to grant us this same respect. We do not seek special treatment, but we do expect fairness,” the prince added.

The Saudi ambassador has openly criticised opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s claims that he had convinced Prime Minister David Cameron to cancel a deal to train Saudi prison staff.

“One recent example of this mutual respect being breached was when Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, claimed that he had convinced Prime Minister David Cameron to cancel a prison consultancy contract with Saudi Arabia worth £5.9 million. This coincided with speculation linking the contract’s cancellation to a number of domestic events in the kingdom,” he said.

The prince added that “if the extensive trade links between the two countries are going to be subordinate to certain political ideologies, then this vital commercial exchange is going to be at risk”.

The Saudi diplomat defended his country’s fight against terrorism, stressing that “no nation has invested in the fight against extremism – including Western countries – like Saudi Arabia did”.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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