Britain to help reform Saudi economy

2017-04-05 19:11
British Prime Minister Theresa May talks to Saudi King Salman in Riyadh. (AP)

British Prime Minister Theresa May talks to Saudi King Salman in Riyadh. (AP)

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Riyadh - Britain said on Wednesday it would help Saudi Arabia to diversify its oil-dependent economy as British Prime Minister Theresa May visited the Gulf kingdom.

May and Saudi King Salman held talks focused on "bilateral relations and co-operation" as well as "regional and international developments", the official news agency SPA said.

A statement from May's office said she would discuss with the monarch "tax and privatisation standards to help Saudi Arabia diversify its economy and become less reliant on oil".

Saudi Arabia faces a significant budget deficit with billions of dollars in debts to private firms, largely in the construction business, after a drop in global oil prices by about half since 2014.

Investment and trade

Britain will also assist Riyadh in "building a reformed Ministry of Defence" and reviewing defence capabilities, the statement said.

May's visit to the oil-rich kingdom came as she seeks to secure investment and trade after Britain officially started a two-year countdown to leave the European Union.

The premier pitched the London bourse as a venue for the expected listing of oil giant Saudi Aramco, Bloomberg news cited an unnamed British official as saying.

May also held a private meeting with Energy Minister Khaled al-Falih, the official said.


Read more on:    saudi arabia  |  britain

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