UK foreign secretary rebuked over Saudi ‘abusing Islam’ comments

Boris Johnson has accused Saudi Arabia of abusing Islam & acting as a puppeteer in proxy wars across the Middle East.

FILE: Britain’s former foreign secretary Boris Johnson. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been rebuked after he accused Saudi Arabia of abusing Islam and acting as a puppeteer in proxy wars across the Middle East.

The comments, made during a visit to Rome, are being viewed as hugely embarrassing to the UK and have prompted a swift response from the British prime minister’s office that the views do not reflect the government position.

The timing of Johnson’s comments could hardly have been worse, coming as British Prime Minister Theresa May had just returned from a two-day visit to the Gulf.

May had praised the Saudi royal family for its visionary leadership and highlighted the value of the UK’s 100-year alliance with Saudi Arabia.

Johnson was recorded criticising the quality of political leadership in the Middle East and accusing the region’s politicians of twisting religion to further their political objectives. He said Saudi Arabia’s behaviour was a tragedy.

The prime minister’s office has insisted the comments represented Johnson’s personal views.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)