The Henry Jackson Society today commented on the three-day visit to Britain of the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Najah Al-Otaibi, Research Fellow in the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society, said:
“The Crown Prince’s visit comes at a crucial time in the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the UK.
“The two countries share a security challenge in tackling the threat of terrorism; last year alone, attacks killed more than 40 people in the two nations. Co-operation to get to the roots of extremism and radicalisation is vitally important and will doubtless be discussed in the days ahead.
“As Brexit approaches, it is also important for the UK to strengthen its alliances in the Gulf so that she can continue to project power abroad.
“The modernisation programme being pursued by Mohammed bin Salman is an important one not just for security, but also for women’s rights. The changes do look meaningful but there is much still to do – the male guardianship system is still in place, women suffer from domestic abuse and there remains a lack of equal opportunities in leadership positions.
“Tension between traditionalists and modernisers remains, and there is of course the crucial issue of how to resolve the conflict in Yemen. But engagement between the UK and Saudi Arabia, to tackle controversial issues while also maintaining security co-operation, remains essential.”