British Prime Minister Liz Truss has thanked the crown prince of Saudi Arabia for his help securing the release of five Britons captured by pro-Russian forces in Ukraine.
The leaders in their first call since she took office discussed their countries “strategic partnership” on defence and energy security.
Truss also offered Britain’s “continued encouragement for progress in Saudi Arabia’s domestic reforms,” according to her office, No 10 Downing Street.
In June, when she was foreign secretary, Truss offered a robust defence of British ties to Saudi Arabia, stressing that the world is not “perfect.”
She was speaking following the launch of talks on a fresh trade deal between Britain and six Gulf nations, an attempt to foster better relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states is controversial.
A Downing Street spokesperson said the Saudi crown prince also offered his “sincere condolences” on the death of the queen in the leader’s first call with Truss as prime minister on Monday.
The prime minister thanked the crown prince for his personal role in securing the release of five British detainees held by Russia-backed forces in eastern Ukraine last week, to the great relief of their families.
The leaders discussed the strategic partnership between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia across a range of issues, including cooperation on defense and energy security.
They welcomed progress in ending the conflict in Yemen and agreed on the importance of continuing political dialogue to extend the truce.
The prime minister reiterated her focus on agreeing a strong UK-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) trade deal, growing bilateral trade, as well as investment in areas like aviation and clean technology.
She also offered the UK’s continued support and encouragement for progress in Saudi Arabia’s domestic reforms.
The crown prince extended his sincere condolences on the death of her majesty the queen, and the leaders looked forward to continuing to grow the strong relationship fostered during her late majesty’s reign.