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The UK has strong diplomatic, military, and economic ties with Saudi Arabia. It is currently negotiating a trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose six members include the Kingdom. The UK Government has also raised concerns for human rights in Saudi Arabia, including freedom of religion and belief and the use of the death penalty. 

This briefing introduces Saudi Arabia’s politics, human rights, trade, and international relations. It also signposts further reading. Please visit the Library’s Middle East pages for further analysis on the region’s politics.

What does this paper cover?

This 17-page briefing provides an introduction to Saudi Arabia’s: 

  • Leadership, politics, and political rights
  • Human rights, such as the rights of women and migrant workers
  • Trade with the UK and current negotiations on a trade agreement 
  • Economy, including key statistics on population, economic growth and leading industries 
  • Foreign relations with the US, neighbouring Gulf states and Iran

The paper signposts further reading on each of these topics on pages 14 to 17. This includes links to UK Parliament proceedings on Saudi Arabia and relevant Commons Library briefing papers. 

Please visit the Library’s Middle East pages for further analysis on the region’s politics.


Documents to download

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