Saudi Arabia, Britain must promote moderate Islam together, says crown prince

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said he believes that Britain and Saudi Arabia would be much safer if their relationship was stronger and they worked to promote moderate Islam together.

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph published on Tuesday, the crown prince said the historic relationship between both countries is linked by common defense and business interests.

“The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Britain is historic and goes back to the foundation of the Kingdom,” he said. “We have a common interest that goes back to the earliest days of the relationship. Our relationship with Britain today is super.”

He added: “The British and Saudi people, along with the rest of the world, will be much safer if you have a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“The extremists and the terrorists are linked through spreading their agenda,” he said. “We need to work together to promote moderate Islam.”

Britain and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030

Speaking ahead of his three-day visit to Britain this week, Prince Mohammed spoke of business opportunities between both states.

During the visit, Prince Mohammed is set to meet Prime Minister Theresa May and other senior ministers, as well as meeting members of the British royal family, The Telegraph reports.

“We believe that Saudi Arabia needs to be part of the global economy,” he explained. “People need to be able to move freely, and we need to apply the same standards as the rest of the world.

“After Brexit there will be huge opportunities for Britain as a result of Vision 2030,” he said, in reference to a national plan in which Saudi Arabia aims to diversify their economy away from oil dependence.

“We want economic growth that will help the region to develop. Because of our dominant position, Saudi Arabia is the key to the economic success of the region.”

Changes in Saudi Arabia

The crown prince spoke on the social changes currently being felt in Saudi Arabia that have come against a backdrop of sweeping reforms, which include a re-energized crackdown on hate speech and religious police, greater freedoms for women, a bustling entertainment scene and a pledge to “destroy extremism and return to moderate Islam.”

Prince Mohammed said: “People in Saudi Arabia have changed a lot because they travel to countries like Britain and see a different way of life.”

The crown prince is due to have private meetings with the heads of MI5 and MI6, as well as being invited to attend a meeting of the National Security Council – a rare privilege for a visiting foreign dignitary, the newspaper reports.

“We want to fight terrorism, and we want to fight extremism because we need to build stability in the Middle East,” he said.

Iran, Qatar

Discussing regional politics, the crown prince dismissed claims that Saudi Arabia’s policies on Iran and Qatar may provoke a new regional conflict.

He said he was working closely with the British government to resolve these issues.

Britain is very supportive of our concerns regarding Iran and other regional security issues. It is always trying to help us and to fix things when there are issues.”

Touching on human rights in the kingdom, the crown prince said: “We do not have the best human rights record in the world,” he said, “but we are getting better, and we have come a long way in a short time.”

Following his visit to Britain, Prince Mohammed will head to France and then the US later this month.



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