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Theresa May says her talks with Mohammed bin Salman will go ahead, as other nations shun Saudi crown prince

Likes of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron expected to avoid meeting bin Salman

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Friday 30 November 2018 06:28 GMT
World leaders arrive for G20 summit in Buenos Aires

Theresa May has defended holding talks with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite accusations that he ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The prime minister confirmed the discussions would go ahead at the G20 summit in Argentina – where the prince is likely to be shunned by the likes of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.

The US Congress has demanded an investigation into whether bin Salman was behind Khashoggi’s murder, in the Saudi consulate in Turkey on 2 October.

Furthermore, an estimated 85,000 children under the age of five have died in Yemen from extreme hunger or disease since war broke out between a Saudi-led coalition and Iran-backed rebels.

Up to 14 million people are at risk of famine, blamed largely on the stranglehold the Saudis have imposed on the Yemeni economy.

Ms May has rebuffed widespread calls for the UK to end arms sales to the kingdom, insisting there are rigorous checks to ensure they are not used in any human rights abuses.

“I’m intending to speak with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia,” she told reporters ahead of landing in Argentina.

“The message that I will give will be the message that we have consistently given on this issue, but also on the issue of Yemen.

“In relation to Mr Khashoggi, we want to see a full and transparent investigation in relation to what happened and those responsible held to account

“On the issue of Yemen, we continue to be deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation. We will be encouraging all the parties to work for a political solution.”

The comments came as Britain’s draft resolution seeking a ceasefire in Yemen was blocked at the United Nations.

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