Saudi Crown Prince meets UK defense chief

Prince Salman and Defense Secretary Philip Hammond discussed the turmoil in the region

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Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz held a meeting on Tuesday with visiting UK Defense Secretary Philip Hammond and discussed the latest developments in the region, the state news agency SPA reported.

SPA said Hammond and Prince Salman, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, discussed the “prospects of cooperation between the two friendly countries and ways of supporting and developing them.”

Hammond’s stop in Jeddah is the first on a Gulf tour that will also take him to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait, amid uncertainty triggered by the Iraqi crisis, according to AFP.

The tour provides an “occasion to discuss the need to find a political solution for the crisis in Iraq,” AFP quoted a diplomat in Saudi Arabia as saying.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Hammond voiced concerns about Iraq, where militants led by jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have made major advances against forces of the Shiite-led government.

“The UK is deeply concerned by the recent developments in Iraq and the gains made by ISIL. Although the UK is not planning a military intervention, we are committed to finding a long-term political solution,” Hammond said.

“We remain committed to the security of the Gulf and want to reassure our friends and allies that we will do everything possible to support those who are working for a stable and democratic Iraqi state and to alleviate humanitarian suffering,” he said.

(With AFP)