British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in the Gulf on Wednesday for meetings in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia aimed at easing skyrocketing gasoline prices, as the West grapples with economic headwinds from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Johnson will be seeking greater investments in the UK’s renewable energy transition and ways to secure more oil to lessen British dependence on Russian energy supplies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine is “causing global uncertainty and a spike in the price of oil,” Johnson told reporters in Abu Dhabi ahead of his meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. “Everybody can see the effect of the increase in gas prices that are coming through,” he said.
“Because of Europe’s reliance on Russian oil and gas, Putin has been able to blackmail the West to hold Western economies to ransom,” he said. “We need independence,” Johnson added.
“The reason for coming here is that it’s not just that they’ve got oil. They’re also some of the biggest investors here, in the Gulf, in UK renewables,” Johnson said in Abu Dhabi.
Boris said he’s raised human rights issues many times and will raise them again during this trip. “But we have long, long-standing relationships with this part of the world and we need to recognize the very important relationship that we have and the strength of that relationship,” he said.