Middle East

Dhahran exhibition features 32 Saudi artists’ works interpreting the planet

British minister for the Middle East calls for shared security partnerships to mitigate Iranian security risks

RIYADH: The only way to mitigate security risks within the region and in Ukraine is through cooperation, shared knowledge and security partnerships, Tariq Ahmad, British Minister for the Middle East told Arab News.

“One of the biggest threats we face in this region…is the threat we face currently from Iran,” Lord Ahmad told Arab News during his visit to the UK Embassy in Riyadh.

The minister visited the Kingdom as his final stop on a three-day Gulf-wide tour, following Bahrain and Kuwait, during which he held meetings to strengthen joint efforts in shared security issues, human rights and education.

“As a partner and a friend to Saudi Arabia, we have regular reviews of our relationship, the kind of common ambitions we have, and also areas where we can have a quite candid exchange of views,” he said.

During his visit on Wednesday, the British minister met with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Climate Affairs Envoy Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji, and President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission Dr. Hala Al-Tuwaijri.

Many of the discussions during his visit centered around shared security challenges posed by Iran’s continued threats to the region and Ukraine and its supplying of arms to the Houthis.

“That concerns us, not just as friends and partners to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but it impacts the whole region,” he said, adding that the supplying of weapons to the Houthis brings “instability and continued real crisis to the people of Yemen” and constitutes a direct threat to Saudi Arabia.

Lord Ahmad discussed the humanitarian toll of the Iranian regime, citing its trampling of women’s rights and its brutal suppression of its own people following Mahsa Amini’s death, including the “imprisonment of over 18,000 people” and the execution of protestors.

The British minister also discussed the dangers of Iran providing weapons to Russia.

“We share those concerns because it’s also impacting the Iranian people. But there’s (another) element to that. We’ve seen Iran foster ties with Russia (and) provide drones and equipment, which are now used against the innocent people of Ukraine,” he said.

Lord Ahmad explained that cooperation in security partnerships and intelligence can help mitigate threats and counter Iranian terrorism.

Near the end of his visit to the Kingdom, the minister announced the 12 finalists for the UK Alumni Awards 2022-23 at the UK Embassy in Riyadh.

“We’re celebrating the finalists who really present the strength of the relationship between our two countries,” he said.

“Education is all about the here and now and building for the future.”

He sat down with the finalists to discuss their studies in the UK, how their experiences have impacted their lives and the work they do today in the Kingdom.

The award celebrates the achievements of UK alumni worldwide and aims to showcase Saudi finalists selected for their contribution to strengthening Saudi-UK relations and their outstanding accomplishments as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders.


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