THE Scottish Greens have urged Boris Johnson to stop "cosying up" to the Saudi Arabian regime and cancel his visit to the Gulf state.

The Prime Minister is reportedly set to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon in the country’s capital Riyadh amid the cost of living crisis and sky-rocketing energy prices.

Johnson will reportedly use his “personal relationship” with the Crown Prince to ask Saudi Arabia to boost its oil and gas production.

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It is part of a bid to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas amid the invasion of Ukraine, which Health Secretary Sajid Javid defended on Monday.

It comes after the country’s state-run Saudi Press Agency announced 81 people were executed on a number of crimes - including “holding deviant beliefs” - marking the largest mass execution conducted there in recent memory.

And now, the Scottish Greens have called on the PM to cancel his visit or risk a “propaganda victory” for the Saudi Royal family.

Next weekend, March 26, will mark seven years since Saudi-led forces began a bombing campaign in Yemen which created the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.

The National:

Johnson has been urged to cancel his visit to Saudi Arabia

Unicef has estimated the direct and indirect death total from the war sits at 377,000.

Saudi forces have dropped bombs, often made in the UK, on civilian targets including hospitals, schools and funerals.

The UK has reportedly sold over £20 billion worth of weapons and other services to Saudi Arabia since 2015.

Ross Greer, Scottish Greens external affairs spokesperson and MSP, said: "Saudi Arabia is run by one of the most brutal and authoritarian dictatorships in the world.

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“Eighty-one executions in a single day, most believed to have been by beheading, prove that brutality is not fading.

“For Boris Johnson to visit so soon after these executions would be shocking but not surprising.

“Whether it is the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi or the humanitarian crisis that Saudi forces have inflicted on Yemen, the UK government have been happy to overlook Saudi atrocities as long as the oil keeps flowing and the arms sales keep coming.”

The National:

Greer (above) added: “Right now UK-trained Saudi pilots are using UK-made fighter jets to drop UK-made bombs on the people of Yemen.

“This war has endured for seven long and painful years and the Prime Minister and his colleagues have been utterly complicit in the horrors it has unleashed.

"Hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result and yet UK arms sales and military support to the Saudi regime continue.

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“If this visit goes ahead it will be treated as a propaganda victory for the Saudi royal family.

"If Boris Johnson cares about the rights and lives of people in Saudi Arabia and Yemen then it's time for him to end the arms sales, stop cosying up to the regime and cancel this disgraceful visit."

It comes as the SNP and Labour both challenged the UK Government on the visit in the House of Commons.

The National:

Speaking for the SNP frontbench, Alyn Smith (pictured above) welcomed the “frank dialogue” but added: “It doesn’t … seem to be having much of an effect on the Saudis themselves.”

He said: “Executing in public by beheading 81 people, whatever their crime, whatever their alleged crime, is an atrocity. There needs to be consequences beyond the harsh criticisms.

“She can relay the House’s concern that surely the Prime Minister’s visit next week should not go ahead and there should be a consequence.”

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Foreign Office minister Amanda Milling said: “I’m not going to speculate about the Prime Minister’s visit.”

Meanwhile, Labour shadow Foreign Office minister Bambos Charalambous condemned the killings and added: “We do not believe that the timing of the executions was coincidental, taking place whilst the world is focusing its attention on atrocities elsewhere.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country as a matter of principle.”

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Javid defended the PM’s planned visit on Monday morning’s broadcast media rounds and claimed the UK has a “very candid and frank” relationship with the Gulf state.