UK foreign secretary to travel to Qatar, Saudi Arabia

UK Foreign Secretary Truss to meet with Qatar emir, Saudi FM this week
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The UK's foreign secretary and ex-trade minister will meet Qatar's emir and the Saudi FM. Since coming to the role, Liz Truss has sought to align Britain's economic, diplomatic and security ambitions.
Liz Truss will make her trip this week [STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP/Getty]

British foreign minister Liz Truss will travel to Qatar and Saudi Arabia this week, seeking to further the case for a trade deal with Gulf countries and deepen diplomatic ties.

Truss, formerly Britain's trade minister, will meet Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and her Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan during the visit, the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said.

Earlier this month Britain took the first steps towards starting trade negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council which includes both Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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Since moving to the foreign office in a reshuffle last month, Truss has tried to more closely align Britain's economic and trading ambitions with its diplomatic, defence and security agenda - seeking to maximise the country's global influence following its exit from the European Union.

"I want a closer trading and investment relationship with the Gulf and for us to collaborate more closely on issues like intelligence sharing, development, security and defence," Truss said.

She will also discuss cooperation on Afghanistan with Qatar, which has been hosting discussions between the Taliban and Western officials since Taliban forces took control of Kabul in August.

(Reuters)