Monday November 19th, 2018 2:39AM

Britain's May in Saudi Arabia after surprise stop in Iraq

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday night to meet the kingdom's assertive crown prince, capping a day that saw her make a surprise visit to Iraq.

May's trip to Saudi Arabia was for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the kingdom-led war in Yemen. She's the second European leader to specifically seek him out as he amasses power.

Earlier on Wednesday, May arrived in Baghdad to an honor guards' greeting, welcomed by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The visit came as the Islamic State group has been driven out of the last town it held in Iraq and has lost its self-described capital in Syria in recent weeks.

"In Iraq, we are working together to defeat Daesh and my visit comes at a critical moment as we see the caliphate collapsing with the fall of Mosul and Raqqa," May told journalists, using an Arabic acronym for the extremist group.

"We want to ensure that Iraq can in the future provide that strong, stable and unified state that can provide the security, jobs and opportunities that all Iraqis want and deserve," she added.

Al-Abadi said May's visit showed Britain's "support and help" in fighting the Islamic State group. Some 600 British troops are deployed to the country.

"Iraq is about to enter a new stage of rebuilding, reconstruction and investment," al-Haider said. "Today, we discussed with the prime minister the strengthening of economic and commercial ties between the two countries."

May also visited Camp Taji, a coalition base north of Baghdad, where around 80 British troops are currently based.

In Saudi Arabia, May's visit is expected to include her asking Crown Prince Mohammed to allow humanitarian aid through Yemen's port of Hodeida, which is held by the Shiite rebels being targeted in the Saudi-led war.

A U.N.-chartered aid vessel docked at Hodeida on Tuesday.

"We are very clear that we want to see full humanitarian and commercial access through the port of Hodeida," May said Tuesday. "Obviously that is an issue I will be raising when I am in Saudi Arabia."

Saudi Arabia closed off Yemen's seaports and airports over a Nov. 4 rebel ballistic-missile launch that targeted the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The kingdom said it intercepted the missile, the deepest yet to penetrate the country.

Under intense international pressure, Saudi Arabia later promised it would reopen the ports for humanitarian aid.

The Saudi-led coalition began its war in Yemen in March 2015 on behalf of Yemen's internationally recognized government against the Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies.

The conflict has pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of famine. The war has killed over 10,000 civilians, displaced 3 million people and left much of the infrastructure in ruins.

May has faced increasingly calls to stop British arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid the conflict, which has seen kingdom-led airstrikes kill hundreds of civilians. Britain has licensed over $6.1 billion worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the war began.

May's visit seeking out Crown Prince Mohammed comes as the 32-year-old son of King Salman now appears to hold the levers of power in Saudi Arabia. French President Emmanuel Macron made a surprise visit to the kingdom earlier this month as well, to see the young royal.

In recent weeks, the crown prince led what the kingdom described as an anti-corruption campaign, arresting prominent princes, business leaders, military officials and others. He also was the architect of the kingdom's war in Yemen, which has been at a stalemate for months.

May also will visit Jordan and meet with King Abdullah II on her trip.


Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2018
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Natalie Morales 'shocked' by Matt Lauer firing
The Latest: Former 'Today' co-host Natalie Morales expresses shock at Matt Lauer's firing over sexual misconduct allegations
2:03PM ( 2 minutes ago )
NBC fires Matt Lauer over 'inappropriate sexual behavior'
NBC says longtime "Today" show host Matt Lauer has been fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior."
2:03PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Britain's May in Saudi Arabia after surprise stop in Iraq
British Prime Minister Theresa May in Saudi Arabia after making surprise visit to Iraq on Mideast tour
1:58PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump's Muslim retweets draw fire from US and abroad
President Donald Trump is retweeting a series of anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British activist
1:25PM ( 40 minutes ago )
War crimes court winds down with defendant's stunning death
Convicted war criminal swallows what he says is poison and dies after U.N. court upholds his for committing crimes against humanity during the Bosnian war of the 1990s
1:09PM ( 57 minutes ago )
UN: Worst malnutrition since war is in besieged Syria suburb
The United Nations children's agency says the worst malnutrition rate since the start of the Syria conflict nearly seven years ago has been recorded in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, besieged since mid-2013
12:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
The Latest: Deborah Norville expresses shock at Lauer firing
The Latest: Former 'Today' host Deborah Norville expresses shock at Matt Lauer's firing over sexual misconduct allegations
1:31PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Mysterious slaying of detective the talk of Baltimore
The unsolved slaying of a homicide detective two weeks ago is the talk of Baltimore, where people are dissecting details of the mystery in offices, during dinner conversations and on social media sites
1:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Lawyer for Lauer's accuser praises her courage
Lawyer for Matt Lauer accuser praises her courage
12:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
Monica Lewinsky slams HLN special carrying her name
Monica Lewinsky isn't too pleased with the title of an upcoming TV special about her affair with President Bill Clinton that led to his impeachment
8:48AM ( 5 hours ago )
Ex-NBA player Ben Gordon arrested on suspicion of robbery
Former NBA player Ben Gordon has been arrested on suspicion of robbery in Los Angeles after an apartment manager was punched and accosted with a knife
8:29AM ( 5 hours ago )
Egyptian diva, actress and singer Shadia, has died at 86
Shadia, Egyptian diva and film star, dies following a stroke and a career stretching back to the 1940s
8:26AM ( 5 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Chinese actress Liu Yifei cast as Disney's Mulan
Chinese actress Liu Yifei cast as Disney's Mulan in live-action film slated for 2019
1:53PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Tampa police: Finding gun was key in arrest in 4 slayings
Police in Tampa, Florida, say finding a gun used in the slayings of four people was very important to making an arrest 51 days after the serial killings began
1:48PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Far-right Trump retweets draw UK rebuke, but visit still on
British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman says U.S. President Donald Trump was wrong to retweet videos posted by a leader of far-right group Britain First
1:42PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Much has changed in Syria, but UN-led talks still sputter
Much has changed since Syria's warring sides held the last round of U.N.-brokered talks in Geneva in the summer
1:39PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Squalid Libya migrant camps in spotlight at EU-Africa summit
Squalid Libya migrant camps in spotlight at EU-Africa summit, along with security
1:37PM ( 28 minutes ago )