LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Boris Johnson is set to visit Saudi Arabia the next week for oil talks as part of his effort to wean the UK off its reliance on Russian energy supply.
Despite Downing Street’s insistence that the trip has not been finalised or confirmed, Tory MPs are urging the prime minister to act to persuade the Saudis to release more oil.
According to the latest estimates from the RAC, prices of fuel at the pumps have reached record highs, at £1.70 for diesel and £1.60 per litre for petrol
According to government sources, the prime minister has stronger ties to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman than any other leader of G, and the two have exchanged messages on Whatsapp.
The prince, on the other hand, is said to have refused to take a call from the US President Joe Biden, who has called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the year 2018.
Mr Johnson’s possible travel comes as Saudi Arabia announced the execution of 81 individuals, including one Syrian and seven Yemenis, for terrorism and other crimes such as harbouring “deviant views” in the country’s largest mass execution in decades.
These 81 criminals were convicted of numerous crimes, including killing innocent women, men and children,” the interior ministry of Saudi said.
Pledges of loyalty to foreign terrorist organisations, including the Houthis, al-Qaeda, and ISIS, are also crimes these individuals committed.
According to state media accounts, the last time the kingdom carried out a large-scale execution was in the year 1980. 63 people were executed in one day. This was a year after extremists seized Mecca’s Grand Mosque.
“The trip has not been finalised, but is looking increasingly likely,” The Times said of the PM’s plans to visit Saudi Arabia for a meeting with the prince.
“At the present, nothing is planned,” a spokesperson for No 10 told Sky News. If anything is confirmed, we will post as normal.”
“What we are going to do is look at our energy supply… to shift away from dependence on Russian oil and gas,” said Mr Johnson in an interview with Beth Rigby on Sky News on Thursday.
Dramatic steps are going to be taken that are required to achieve energy independence, so that the UK is no longer vulnerable to Putin’s blackmail.
Government officials believe that Mr Johnson is well positioned to persuade the Saudis to pump more oil because of his appreciation for the prince’s reform drive when he was foreign secretary.
And, unlike the US, the UK has continued to supply armaments to Saudi Arabia, despite protests from critics who said the arms were being used in the Yemen conflict.