London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for official talks yesterday.
During the meeting at 10 Downing Street, the two leaders discussed key issues including counterterrorism, Iran, the Middle East peace process, Iraq and Lebanon. Areas of Saudi-British cooperation were also discussed.
According to the AFP news agency, “they mainly discussed the Middle East peace process looking ahead to the Annapolis,” a spokesman 10 Downing Street said, referring to the peace conference in Maryland scheduled for later this year.
“The prime minister encouraged King Abdullah to continue to play a leadership role among Arab states.
“They talked about what was achievable and what needs to be done between now and then.”
The king did not say whether he would attend but was not pressed on the matter.
However, Brown and Abdullah agreed the solution had to involve a viable, independent Palestinian state.
“They also talked about education internationally as one of the ways of combating extremism and terrorism,” the spokesman added.
“They touched on counter-terrorism briefly. There was general agreement that the current work was of good quality, very useful and should continue.”
In other news King Abdullah will meet Pope Benedict XVI next week in the first encounter between a pope and a Saudi monarch, a statement by the Vatican said.
The talks are expected to centre on Christian-Islam relations.