The British Prime Minister has accused Iran of ‘aggressive actions’ in the Middle East including stirring up trouble in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
Theresa May says she is “clear-eyed” about the “threat” posed by the country and has pledged to work with Gulf States to counteract its influence.
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Addressing the Gulf Cooperation Council, the conservative leader said that Britain wanted to “make a more permanent and more enduring commitment to the long-term security of the Gulf” and would invest more than 3 billion pounds in defence spending in the region over the next decade.
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman opened the summit on Tuesday with a call for a “doubling of efforts” to face regional challenges.
The Daily Mail reports:
Britain will help Gulf states “push back” against aggressive regional actions by Iran, Prime Minister Theresa May told the Gulf Cooperation Council in Bahrain on Wednesday in a televised address.
Iran’s alleged “interference” in the region is a central preoccupation of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council whose most powerful member is Saudi Arabia.
The Sunni Gulf monarchies and Tehran are at odds over a range of issues including the wars in Syria and Yemen.
“We must… continue to confront state actors whose influence fuels instability in the region,” May told Gulf leaders at the summit.
“So I want to assure you that I am clear-eyed about the threat that Iran poses to the Gulf and to the wider Middle East.”
She added: “We must… work together to push back against Iran’s aggressive regional actions.”
May said she wanted a “strategic partnership” to help boost security in Gulf countries, including defence investment and military training in Bahrain and Jordan.
The prime minister also spoke about discussions to improve trade ties with Gulf countries as Britain prepares to leave the European Union after a shock referendum vote in June to quit the bloc.
“I want these talks to pave the way for an ambitious trade arrangement” after Brexit, she said in Bahrain, which was a British protectorate for 100 years and gained full independence in 1971.
May is the latest foreign leader to address the GCC as the Gulf deepens ties with major powers beyond longtime ally the United States.
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