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Britain to help reform Saudi economy

RIYADH: Britain said on Wednesday it would help Saudi Arabia to diversify its oil-dependent economy as British Prime Minister Theresa May visited the Gulf kingdom.

May and Saudi King Salman held talks focused on “bilateral relations and cooperation” as well as “regional and international developments”, the official news agency SPA said.

A statement from May’s office said the two discussed several issues including security and strengthening business ties.

An earlier statement from May’s office said she would discuss with the monarch “tax and privatisation standards to help Saudi Arabia diversify its economy and become less reliant on oil”.

May pitches London bourse as venue for Saudi Aramco listing

The prime minister “pointed out that security relationships between the two countries had saved many lives in the UK”, her office said.

Saudi Arabia faces a significant budget deficit with billions of dollars in debts to private firms, largely in the construction business, after a drop in global oil prices by about half since 2014.

Britain will also assist Riyadh in “building a reformed Ministry of Defence” and reviewing defence capabilities, the premier’s office said.

May’s visit to the oil-rich kingdom came as she seeks to secure investment and trade after Britain officially started a two-year countdown to leave the European Union.

The premier pitched the London bourse as a venue for the expected listing of oil giant Saudi Aramco, Bloomberg news cited an unnamed British official as saying.

May held a private meeting with Energy Minister Khaled al-Falih, who also heads Aramco, in the presence of London Stock Exchange Group Plc chief Xavier Rolet, the official said.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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