Rishi Sunak makes plea for more oil production in meeting with Saudi Arabia’s controversial Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – but PM fails to mention murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
- Rishi Sunak meets with Mohammed bin Salman at G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia
- PM had been widely expected to make energy plea in talks with Saudi leader
- Downing Street confirms the pair discussed efforts to ‘stabilise’ energy markets
- But No10 concedes PM did not mention murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
- Prince Mohammed is claimed to have approved the gruesome 2018 killing
Rishi Sunak today met with Saudi Arabia’s controversial leader Mohammed bin Salman in a bid to ease volatility in global energy markets.
The Prime Minister held talks with the Saudi Crown Prince at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, for their first discussions since Mr Sunak took office.
Mr Sunak had been widely expected to use the meeting to plead for Saudi Arabia to produce more oil and gas, in response to the disruption to supplies caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
There has been anger at the Middle East kingdom over the recent decision by the Opec+ group of countries, which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, to slash oil production.
They have been accused of playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands, as the Russian President bids to prop up his country’s ailing economy.
But, as Western countries look to wean themselves off Russian energy supplies, human rights campaigners have blasted them for cosying up to other oil-producing autocratic regimes in a bid to ease pressure on energy prices.
Mr Sunak’s predecessor Boris Johnson faced accusations of going from ‘dictator to dictator’ to find new energy supplies when he visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in March.
Downing Street today confirmed that while Mr Sunak and the Saudi Crown Prince discussed global energy markets, the PM did not bring up the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
US intelligence agencies last year found Prince Mohammed had approved the 2018 killing of the Washington Post journalist.
Rishi Sunak today met with Saudi Arabia’s controversial leader Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia
Downing Street confirmed that while Mr Sunak and the Saudi Crown Prince discussed global energy markets, the PM did not bring up the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
US intelligence agencies last year found Prince Mohammed had approved the 2018 killing of Mr Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist
After Mr Sunak and Prince Mohammed’s talks at a luxury resort hotel in Bali, a Downing Street spokesperson said they had ‘discussed the importance of continued UK-Saudi cooperation in the face of regional security threats and international economic instability’.
‘In light of the global increase in energy prices sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the PM said he hoped the UK and Saudi Arabia could continue to work together to stabilise energy markets,’ the spokesperson added.
‘The leaders also shared their concern over threats to peace and security in the Middle East, including Iran’s destabilising activity in the region.
‘The PM welcomed the strong trade relations and defence and security collaboration between our two countries, and the leaders committed to look for opportunities to deepen investment ties in strategic industries.
‘The PM looked forward to continuing to strengthen the UK-Saudi relationship, noting the importance of further progress on social reforms, including on women’s rights and freedoms in the Kingdom.’
Mr Sunak’s official spokesman conceded the PM did not mention the murder of Mr Khashoggi during the talks, despite a ‘fairly lengthy discussion’ on social reforms in Sauid Arabia including a ‘need for more progress on freedoms in the kingdom.
‘He didn’t raise specific individual cases,’ the spokesman said ‘That’s not normally the norm in these sorts of things.’
Former PM Theresa May directly challenged Prince Mohammed over Mr Khashoggi’s murder when they met at a G20 summit in Argentina in late 2018.