SHAFAQNA – In view of the international outcry the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr prompted over the weekend, British Prime Minister David Cameron broke his silence by condemning the move.
In exclusive comments to Shafaqna, his office confirmed the PM raised the matter with Saudi officials, making clear the London was “hugely disappointed and concerned over the ramifications such a decision would ultimately have on the region.”
“The UK does not support Riyadh’s decision. We have made our position rather clear over the past months. We want to promote stability in the Middle East, and that means engaging all actors … We were deeply saddened by Sheikh al-Nimr’s death, as he was held in great esteem across the Islamic world.
Speaking during a visit to east London, Mr Cameron also noted “It is hugely concerning because of course we want to see stability in the Middle East, we want to see good relations between the different countries in the Middle East, not least because that will be absolutely essential for solving the crisis in Syria.
“And specifically on Saudi Arabia let me be clear – we condemn and do not support the death penalty in any circumstances and that includes Saudi Arabia.”
“We always make representations on the death penalty and the Foreign Office ministers made it very clear on this occasion.”
Before Riyadh’s hardening positions vis a vis Tehran Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood urged Saudi officials to show “restraint and responsibility”.
He told Shafaqna: “I am deeply disturbed by the escalation in tensions in the last 24 hours in the Middle East. I already told several media outlets of our position on the matter … We will continue to call for reason and moderation. We do not wish to see any escalation, diplomatic or otherwise.”