By Mohammed Rasooldeen
British Prime Minister Theresa May, embroiled in a messy divorce from the European Union as she implements Brexit, arrives in the Kingdom on Tuesday on a two-day visit.
During the first leg of her tour, the prime minister was in Amman on Monday.
The focus of her visit to the two countries is to build stronger partnerships on security, defense and trade.
British Ambassador Simon Collis told Arab News Monday that May will have the opportunity to discuss important cooperation between the UK and Saudi Arabia on counter-terrorism and trade.
“The United Kingdom has rich historic relations with the Kingdom and as we leave the EU, we are determined to strengthen this bond further,” Collis said. “Working together, we can strive to boost both the security and prosperity of our two Kingdoms.”
May , who is slated to meet King Salman in Riyadh, is expected to make clear that the two countries are close and important allies and Britain will continue to work closely in a range of areas, particularly on counter-terrorism where UK-Saudi co-operation is vital.
On trade, the prime minister is expected to explore ways of boosting already existing very strong bilateral ties.
Saudi Arabia is currently the UK’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with exports of British goods standing at £4.67 billion and services at £1.9 billion in 2015.
The prime minister said in a statement: “It is clearly in the UK’s security and prosperity interests to support Jordan and Saudi Arabia in tackling regional challenges to create a more stable region, and in delivering their ambitious reform programs to ensure their own stability. An even deeper partnership with these countries, and greater knowledge and understanding of one another, will increase our ability to address the issues that concern us, including the promotion of international standards and norms.
“To tackle the threats we face from terrorism and from geopolitical instability, we must meet them at their source. Jordan is on the frontline of multiple regional crises and I’m clear that by working with them, we are helping keep British people safe,” she added.
Likewise in Saudi Arabia, she said: “We must never forget that intelligence we have received in the past from that country has saved potentially hundreds of lives in the UK. And there is so much we can do together on trade, with immense potential for Saudi investment to provide a boost to the British economy.
The prime minister visited Jordan in 2012 in her capacity as Home Secretary. She also visited Saudi Arabia in March 2014.