This week, British Foreign Minister Liz Truss will visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar in an effort to strengthen diplomatic ties and advance the case for a trade agreement with the Gulf countries.
During her visit, Truss, formerly Britain’s trade minister, will meet with Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, according to the foreign office.
Earlier this month, the United Kingdom took the first steps towards beginning trade talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes both Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Since moving to the foreign office in a reshuffle last month, Truss has tried to more closely align Britain’s economic and trading ambitions with its diplomatic, defence and security agenda – seeking to maximise the country’s global influence following its exit from the European Union.
“I want a closer trading and investment relationship with the Gulf and for us to collaborate more closely on issues like intelligence sharing, development, security and defence,” Truss said.
She will also discuss cooperation on Afghanistan with Qatar, which has been hosting talking between the Taliban and Western officials since Taliban forces took control of Kabul.