LONDON: Saudi Ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan Al-Saud has called for greater cooperation between the two kingdoms amid the coronavirus crisis.
Writing in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, the envoy said Saudi Arabia and the UK “have lost too many people to the virus,” and referred to the similarities between the two nations in their moves to secure the long-term strength of their economies.
Prince Khalid said Britain and Saudi Arabia enjoy a close relationship, and he feels “very strongly that our two nations can help each other meet the challenges of these very difficult times.”
He added that many Britons work in Saudi companies and vice versa, and while the links between the two kingdoms have often revolved around business, the liberalized leisure opportunities brought about by the Vision 2030 reform plan will make for a rise in tourism and travel.
Prince Khalid said the Saudi economy is performing better than some expected. Praising his country’s move to privatize Saudi Aramco, he said share prices in the company have reached pre-COVID-19 levels.
But as openness and thriving business and tourism relationships have grown between the Middle East and the West, the envoy expressed fears that some are threatening to use COVID-19 as an opportunity to erect barriers worldwide.
This cannot “be the legacy of corona,” he said. “We can’t allow a division to emerge between East and West, we must all work together to build a prosperous open global trading legacy.
“Britain and Saudi Arabia, as countries that in different ways are both dependent on global trade, must work together to make sure that the world makes the right choice.”