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Johnson in Saudi Arabia as Quartet on Yemen to Meet in February

Johnson in Saudi Arabia as Quartet on Yemen to Meet in February

Thursday, 25 January, 2018 - 09:30
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson walks out of Downing Street in London, January 23, 2018. (Reuters)

The Quartet on Yemen is scheduled to meet in early February, but the meeting’s location has not been set yet, a British Foreign Office spokeswoman told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Sources said that the British capital London may be considered as host.

The timing reveals that the Quartet is meeting more often compared to last year as the last meeting was held at the British Embassy in Paris on Tuesday and attended for the first time by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"We talked about the agreed critical goals in Yemen which are, first and foremost, to sustain the measures that have been taken over the course of the past weeks to expand humanitarian access,” a senior US State Department official said following the meeting, which was organized by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, AFP reported.

"That's what provides all of us the space" to pursue "further goals" of a political resolution to the conflict and a strategy to counter Iranian influence in Yemen, he added.

The official also praised the recent decisions made by Saudi Arabia in this regard.

The Foreign Office spokeswoman said London would continue to support the Yemeni peace talks "through ongoing and intensive diplomatic efforts."

She added that Johnson visited Oman on Wednesday and is scheduled to head to Saudi Arabia on Thursday. Yemen is the main focus of his talks.

Johnson had recently stressed that "Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself” and stressed “the need for a settlement in Yemen."

His meeting in Oman focused on making progress towards reaching a political solution to the conflict in Yemen.

In Saudi Arabia, he will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, said a statement by the British Foreign Office.

In addition to the Yemeni crisis, the visit to Saudi Arabia will be an opportunity to discuss countering Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region, while “reiterating the importance of the Iranian nuclear deal for our shared security interests,” the statement said.

It further noted that the Foreign Secretary will also outline how the UK can be a leading partner for Saudi Arabia’s ambitious socio-economic reform program, Vision 2030.

“The UK firmly supports Saudi Arabia’s socio-economic reform program, Vision 2030, led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman,” Johnson said.

“These internal reforms are diversifying the economy while delivering greater inclusivity for all Saudi citizens. As a world leader across a wide range of sectors, the UK is well-placed to help Saudi Arabia deliver these changes,” he stressed.

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