May pitches London exchange to Saudis for massive Aramco IPO

07 April, 2017, 07:09 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Saudi-led air strikes are seen at a container terminal at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah

Theresa May made her pitch in the capital, Riyadh, during the second and final day of her visit.

The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group has joined UK Prime Minister Theresa May on her visit to Saudi Arabia.

Britain has sold billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia, including munitions, helicopters and tanks, since Riyadh entered the war in Yemen to support the government of President Abd Rabbuh Hadi.

Qatar, for example, announced plans last month to invest £5 billion ($6.23 billion/5.8 billion euros) in Britain within five years.

"'We are firm supporters of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, an ambitious blueprint for internal reform that aims to deliver greater inclusivity for all Saudi citizens, something we agree is essential to Saudi Arabia's long-term stability and success".

May came under fire ahead of the visit, with opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn demanding she raise concerns about "the dictatorial Saudi monarchy s shocking human rights record".

"The strong British tradition of standing up for human rights is there, the strong British tradition of standing up for British national interest is there", she said, underlining the importance of the two countries' trading and security ties.

In late 2015, Kuwait began pricing its European exports against another part of the Brent benchmark, dated Brent, after years of following Saudi Arabia in pricing oil against BWAVE. Additionally, some 21 million Yemenis, roughly 82 percent of the population, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

However, she has come under pressure from politician to tackle Saudi Arabia on its human rights record and alleged infringements of global law in its military intervention in Yemen, in which it is accused of causing civilian deaths.

Under "Vision 2030", there will be more than 450 registered amateur clubs for cultural activities by 2020 - earlier this year the kingdom allowed its first major concert in nearly seven years - and female participation in the workforce should increase from 22% to 30%.

The British government says she will emphasize her country's close partnership with Saudi Arabia, including on counterterrorism cooperation.

In an interview with reporters onboard her plane to Jordan yesterday, Mrs May said she also hoped to use the trip to send a message about women in leadership - but stopped short of criticising the Saudi system which bars women from driving and forces them to obtain permission from a male guardian to travel or marry.

The British premier also met Sarah al-Suhaimi, the first woman to head the Saudi stock exchange and a Saudi investment bank, and Princess Reema bint Bandar, head of the women's section at the General Authority for Sports.

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