LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Saudi Arabia on Monday where he will press King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
During a trip to the region that includes a visit to the United Arab Emirates, Hunt will also seek to build support for UN efforts to end the conflict in Yemen, the Foreign Office said.
His visit comes amid an international diplomatic crisis over the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi, a US resident, at his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October.
“The international community remain united in horror and outrage at the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi one month ago,” said Hunt, who will also meet Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
“It is clearly unacceptable that the full circumstances behind his murder still remain unclear.”
“We encourage the Saudi authorities to co-operate fully with the Turkish investigation into his death so that we deliver justice for his family and the watching world.”
Hunt’s visit comes after British undersecretary for foreign affairs Simon McDonald held talks with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and foreign minister in Riyadh.
During his brief visit to the Gulf, Hunt will also meet Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani.
Britain is seeking support among regional partners for new action at the UN Security Council for peace talks in Yemen.
“The human cost of war in Yemen is incalculable: with millions displaced, famine and disease rife and years of bloodshed, the only solution is now a political decision to set aside arms and pursue peace,” Hunt said.
“Britain has a unique position, both as pen-holder at the UN Security Council and as a key influencer in the region, so today I am travelling to the Gulf to demand that all sides commit to this process.
“We are witnessing a manmade humanitarian catastrophe on our watch: now is the window to make a difference, and to get behind both the UN peace process and current UK efforts in the Security Council.”
The Foreign Office also said Hunt would raise the case of Matthew Hedges, a PhD student who denies charges of spying in the UAE.