Saudi Arabia is ‘partner’, Liz Truss says after ‘authoritarian’ tirade — Analysis
Liz Truss said she can’t remember tackling Britain’s Gulf allies on human rights issues, but insists she did
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told a hearing on Tuesday that she has raised human rights concerns with Britain’s allies in the Gulf, but when pressed couldn’t name a single time she did. Although insisting the UK should reject, “authoritarian regimes”Truss stated that Saudi Arabia, and other totalitarian oil-producing states around the globe are “partners.”
Truss made the argument that Britain’s former imperial territories and Britain should be acting as an a. “bulwark”For Russia and China and for a “robust counterweight to authoritarian regimes” in general. Truss, speaking out against Russia at Wednesday’s NATO summit, told reporters that Britain and its allies had to be honest about their position. “defeat Russia first, and negotiate later.”
However, her attitude to the Middle Eastern regimes that supply Britain’s oil is more flexible.
Truss did not describe the Gulf countries as he spoke at Tuesday’s Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. “authoritarian,”Instead, they should be called “they are”. “partners of the United Kingdom.”
Liz Truss doesn’t consider Saudi Arabia to be an authoritarian nation. Chris Bryant: Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for Jamal Khashoggi being murdered.. Liz Truss: I think Saudi Arabia is a valuable partner for the UK. #Embarrassingpic.twitter.com/3V1LclzdU1
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) June 28, 2022
Asked by Labour MP Chris Bryant whether Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Truss dodged the question, repeating “What I would say is that Saudi Arabia is an important partner of the United Kingdom.”
“81 executions in one day in Saudi Arabia, and you don’t think that’s an authoritarian regime?” Bryant pressed, referring to the execution of 81 criminals in a single day in March, more than the total number of death sentences carried out in the Saudi Kingdom last year.
Truss didn’t answer again, but she said her primary focus was on “the threat from Russia.”Her comments were further emphasized by the fact that, with Britain cutting off all Russian oil imports “it is important to build a close trading relationship with the Gulf states.”
“If a country is an authoritarian regime, it’s fine to do business with it as long as the authoritarianism is only within its own borders, is that right?”Bryant continued. Truss then brought up Russia or China.
Truss then stated that she had previously raised human rights concerns with the leaders of the Gulf states, but Bryant interrupted, saying that Truss’ spokesman said that she had done no such thing.
“I’ll have to come back to the committee,” Truss said. “I will write to you with the details.”
“You can’t remember a single human rights issue that you’ve raised with a Gulf state leader?” Bryant pushed.
“I raised particular issues,”Truss refused to give up, even though she was pressed for an answer. “go into all the details of private conversations.”
The UK launched trade negotiations last week in the Gulf Cooperation Council. This group includes Bahrain Oman Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Oman Oman Qatar and Saudi Arabia. While the government’s original list of objectives for a deal included references to “human rights”And the “rule of law,” these entries were dropped from the final list.
London is hoping that the £33 billion ($40 billion) trade deal will make up for the post-Brexit UK-EU shortfall, as it simultaneously looks to the Gulf and to Norway to supply its fossil fuels.