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Foreign Secretary visits Oman and Saudi Arabia

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Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Oman yesterday for talks about the civil war in Yemen and the Iran nuclear deal.

Omani State media reported that his discussions with Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said focused on “stability in the region”. Officials said both leaders agreed on the need to end the Yemeni conflict as soon as possible.

The visit to Oman’s capital Muscat, Johnson’s second since December, was his first stop on a two-day visit to the region. The trip that will also include Saudi Arabia, where he will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

The Foreign Office said that the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Saudi Arabia will be an opportunity to discuss the crisis in Yemen and countering Iran’s destabilising activity in the region while reiterating the importance of the Iranian nuclear deal for shared security interests.

In a statement released ahead of the visit, the Foreign Secretary said: “Oman and Saudi Arabia both have crucial regional roles, particularly in finding a political solution to the crisis in Yemen. During my meetings this week I will reaffirm that there can be no military solution to the conflict – peace-talks are the only long-term solution for the people of Yemen.”

He added that “we must continue to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen” and that “there has been progress in recent weeks with the reopening of the Hodeidah and Saleef ports, allowing vital access for food and fuel”. Johnson said that the UK would play a “leading role” in helping solve this humanitarian crisis and welcomed the Saudi-led coalition’s humanitarian plans.

The Foreign Secretary also plans to outline how the UK can be a leading partner for Saudi Arabia’s ambitious socio-economic reform programme, Vision 2030, which Johnson said is “diversifying the economy while delivering greater inclusivity for all Saudi citizens”.