British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday she would raise “hard issues” with Saudi Arabia’s leaders as domestic critics urged her to pressure Riyadh over its war in Yemen and human rights record.
May, who has launched a diplomatic drive to secure trade deals after launching divorce talks with the European Union, said she would stand up for both human rights and her country’s national interests in her talks in the Middle Eastern kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is a major customer for British defense companies, an ally in countering terrorism and a wealthy oil-producing nation that May’s government hopes to win over after launching Brexit talks late last month.
But Britain’s supply of aircraft, weapons and munitions to the Saudis has come under scrutiny because of Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition plays a major role in the two-year civil war that has killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians.
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