Saudi Arabia bristling with rage over UK inquiry
Saudi Arabia said that all options remained open as it would assess its relations with Britain, a report has claimed.
Riyadh, reportedly angered by the decision of the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) to launch a review into the UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, felt “insulted” and decided to re-evaluate the country’s historic relations with Britain and that “all options will be looked at,” the BBC said in a report published on Monday.
The FAC in September said its inquiry would look closely at how the UK balanced its various interests in these countries in defence, trade, security, counter-terrorism and human rights, the BBC said.
For the Saudis, Iran, which strongly condemned the dispatching of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Peninsula Shield troops to Bahrain in March 2011 was behind the inquiry.
Saudi Arabia would “not tolerate or accept any foreign interference in the workings of the GCC,” the report quoted Prince Mohammad Bin Nawaf Al Saud, the Saudi ambassador to the UK, as saying.
“Saudi Arabia’s relations with the GCC are an internal matter among the six countries and we will not tolerate or accept any foreign interference in the workings of the GCC,” the ambassador said.
Saudi Arabia “as a GCC member, sent a brigade of specialised units to secure and protect critical Bahraini installations and infrastructure. Saudi forces have not engaged in any security operations against Bahraini citizens,” the ambassador said.
Another Saudi official was quoted by the BBC as saying that Saudi Arabia would not “permit a group of so-called human rights activists, supported and funded by foreign entities, to implant a new foreign-linked political system in a fellow GCC country.”
According to the report, bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and Britain was nearly £4 billion last year and the two countries have huge defence deals. The around 200 UK/Saudi joint ventures have a total investment of more than £11 billion.
The cabinet sought to control possible damage and a Foreign Office spokesman said that Saudi Arabia was “a key strategic partner in the region and one of the closest friends and allies.”
“We will be responding to the FAC in due course, setting out the detail of our deep, broad-based relationship with Saudi Arabia and the strength and importance of our partnership,” the official said, quoted by the BBC.