By Arab News
By Siraj Wahab
Britain pledged full support to Saudi Arabia on Sunday in its quest to implement the goals of Vision 2030.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond praised Vision 2030 as a step in the right direction.
“It is a very exciting project that aims to transform Saudi Arabia,” he said. “It will address the challenge of volatile oil markets.”
He said the vision, coming as it does during a time of low oil prices, made good sense. “Even if the oil prices were to recover, it makes immense sense to diversify the economy in order to ensure resilience,” he said.
Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia and Britain had long-standing, strong relations and that cooperation between the two countries is constructive in economic, security, military, educational and medical fields.
Hammond lauded the relations which go back many years; he expressed pride in the joint ventures implemented between the two countries and looked forward to see the distinguished partnership extend to face the challenges engulfing the region in the fields of security, economics and politics.
He said the UK stood ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to carry out the plans outlined in the vision.
“We see a number of areas in which the UK could play a strong supportive role,” he said. “We have probably the world’s best capital markets in London and as companies are privatized or partly privatized or new projects and public-private partnerships are launched, London can play a crucial role, both in terms of restructuring and financing those entities.”
He said Britain also had considerable experience in educational reform. “And educational reform will be at the center of delivering Vision 2030.”
Hammond said Britain also had a great deal of experience in tourism.
“Across all of these areas, we can work together and add value to Saudi Vision 2030 set out recently by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman,” he said.
He said he met Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday at Al-Salam Palace during which “we explored areas of cooperation and discussed how best we can engage.”
Besides possible cooperation on Saudi Vision 2030, the two leaders discussed the latest developments in the region and the efforts being exerted to achieve regional security and stability.
The audience was attended by Fahd Al-Issa, consultant at the Royal Court and supervisor general at the defense minister’s office; British Ambassador Simon Collis; and a number of officials.
Earlier, the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states held talks with Hammond.
The meeting was aimed at improving the historic ties binding the United Kingdom and the GCC, particularly in the political, security, military, economic, scientific and educational fields.