Australian PM praises Theresa May’s ‘resilience’ on Brexit at G20

Theresa May has revealed she called for a credible and transparent investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi when she met the Saudi crown Prince yesterday.

The Prime Minister said she reiterated the need for those responsible to be ‘held accountable’ during a sit down with Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in Argentina.

But Mrs May avoided questions on whether she specifically quizzed the Saudi leader on his involvement in the murder. 

She said: ‘It is absolutely the case that our relationship with Saudi Arabia means that we are able to raise issues that are difficult issues and to be clear with them on our views and concerns.

‘What I said to the crown prince yesterday was the importance of a full, credible transparent investigation that identifies those who were involved, and the importance of ensuring those involved are held to account.’

Saudi Arabia has denied that bin Salman played a role in Mr Khashoggi’s death, but US intelligence agencies concluded he ordered the killing. It is the prince’s first significant appearance overseas since the killing. 

Theresa May revealed she called for a credible and transparent investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The Prime Minister said she reiterated the need for those responsible to be ‘held accountable’ during a sit down with Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in Argentina

Mrs May sported a stern expression as she sat down with the Saudi royal yesterday in Buenos Aires – the prince’s first significant appearance overseas since the killing.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that Saudi officials extradict the suspects responsible for the killing of Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia announced 18 people had been apprehended and vowed to probe the killing of Khashoggi, a royal condifidant turned critic who was killed and dismembered in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. 

Erdogan said: ‘It’s essential that these people are tried in Turkey in order to eliminate any question marks that the international community may have.

‘Whoever has ordered and implemented this violent crime should be found out at once. Unless the perpetrators are found out, the whole world and the Islamic community shall not be satisfied.’

Erdogan said the Saudis refused to help Turkish prosecutors who sought information on the case. 

The Islamist-oriented Turkish leader, who has been vying for influence in the region with Saudi Arabia, said he did ‘not wish to cause any damage’ to the royal family. 

Speaking at the end of the G20 summit, Mrs May also said she was determined to deliver on the EU referendum result.

‘The next nine days are a really important time for our country leading up to the vote on this deal,’ she told her closing press conference.

‘I will be talking with Members of Parliament obviously and explaining to them why I believe this is a good deal for the UK.

‘Why it is a deal that delivers on Brexit but it is also a deal that protects jobs and the economy and why passing this deal in the vote that takes place in the House of the Commons will take us to certainty for the future, and that failure to do that would only lead to uncertainty.

‘What I’ve been hearing here at the G20 is the importance of that certainty for the future.’

Asked if this could be one of her last overseas trips as Prime Minister, Mrs May said: ‘There is a lot more for me still to do, not least delivering on Brexit and being the Prime Minister that does take the United Kingdom out of the European Union.’

Mrs May said she had used the summit to brief the other leaders on the Brexit deal agreed with the EU.

‘That this deal sets a path for the UK to a brighter future has been affirmed by the discussions I have had on trade over the past two days, with friends and partners making clear they are keen to sign and implement ambitious free trade deals with us as soon as possible,’ she said.

She added: ‘Of course I have been listening to and talking to businesses across the UK, and indeed across the European Union, including Japanese businesses that are invested in the UK.

‘One of the key messages they have given is about the importance of being able to maintain a good trade relationship with the European Union once we’ve left. That is what the deal that has been negotiated delivers.’

It comes after Mrs May was warned by Japan’s Prime Minister to avoid a no-deal Brexit amid warnings from the country’s car manufacturers.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands during a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday. The Japanese leader warned his UK counterpart against a no-deal exit from the EU 

Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison shake hands during a bilateral meeting at the G20 in Buenos Aires where they discussed Brexit and trade between the two countries 

Shinzo Abe made the appeal to his British counterpart during talks at the G20 summit in Argentina, as Mrs May looks for partners to help her deliver the promised trading benefits of Brexit. 

It follows warnings from Honda and Nissan that their UK operations would face huge extra costs and bureaucracy in the event of a cliff-edge Brexit in March 2019.

Earlier Britain’s PM spoke to Australian leader Scott Morrison who praised Mrs May’s ‘resilience and determination’ on Brexit and signalled a new trading relationship could be on the cards.  

Honda has said a no-deal Brexit would cost it tens of millions of pounds in additional tariffs and would damage the competitiveness of its Swindon plant.

Nissan, which employs 7,000 at Britain’s biggest car factory in Sunderland, has said that a sudden change to World Trade Organisation rules would have ‘serious implications for British industry’. 

Meeting Mrs May for talks on the margins of the summit, Mr Abe said: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to express my tribute to your leadership in realising the Withdrawal Agreement as well as the EU’s agreement on the Political Declaration.

‘Also I would like to once again ask for your support to avoid no deal as well as to ensure transparency, predictability as well as legal stability in the Brexit process.’ 

Mrs May said the agreement she has reached with the EU ‘is a good deal for the UK, it is a good deal for businesses in the UK, including the many Japanese companies who have made significant investment into the UK and who will be able to continue on the basis of our deal to trade well with the European Union from the UK’. 

She faces an uphill battle to force her divisive withdrawal agreement through the House of Commons where many Conservative MPs have vowed to vote against the deal.

If Parliament rejects the deal there will be little time for Mrs May to prevent a no-deal departure before exit day on March 29 next year.      

Earlier Australian PM Mr Morrison told Mrs May: ‘I think you’ve shown great resilience and great determination on one of the most vexed issues I think there is.’ 

The Australian leader praised her ‘determination to do that in typical British fashion with clear sight of the end goal and to bring some stability on what is a very difficult issue for you and your colleagues.’  

He said: ‘I think you know you have our strong support in continuing to bring it to a good resolution.’ 

Referring to BAE Systems’ £20 billion contract to build new Australian naval frigates, Mr Morrison said: ‘Trade relationships and our opportunity to work together post-Brexit in a very important trade relationship.

Britain’s PM met Scott Morrison for face-to-face talks (pictured) and hailed the ‘great relationship’ between the two countries while her Australian counterpart signalled a new trading relationship could be on the cards after Brexit

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, as world leaders grapple with issues including climate change, trade and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi 

‘We look forward to that, whether it’s on defence procurement at the moment where we have a very important procurement under way now with the British, that is proceeding very, very well.’ 

After shaking hands, Mrs May joked that the relationship was not always friendly when it came to sporting events, saying: ‘I should have worn my MCC scarf’. 

The PM was also meeting Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Chilean president Sebastian Pinera. 

Leaders will face tricky negotiations on the final day of the G20 summit as President Donald Trump meets Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping amid threats of a trade war while leaders grapple with addressing climate change despite Mr Trump’s withdrawal from an international deal. 

A later meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to focus on Ankara’s investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in October.

On Friday, Mrs May delivered a ‘robust’ message to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the UK expected his country to co-operate fully with the Turkish probe and to conduct its own investigation in a ‘credible and transparent’ way.

British officials said trade was not on the agenda for the talks with the Saudi heir apparent, known as MBS.

Mrs May shook hands with the Saudi prince, who was also berated by French president Emmanuel Macron in a terse conversation captured on video.  

European leaders said all-night talks at the summit had resulted in a possible ‘breakthrough’ on fixing the global trading system.  

Countries are making progress on a final statement that will acknowledge problems with the World Trade Organization but commit to reforming it, amid fierce criticism from President Trump, EU officials said.  

France’s President Emmanuel Macron and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa shake hands at the G20 today. Mr Macron is in Argentina while back home protesters clash with riot police on the Champs-Elysees in Paris 

Vladimir Putin and his aide Yuri Ushakov walk together ahead of a meeting with Angela Merkel. Putin was among those to pay tribute to former U.S. President George Bush senior who died on Friday evening 

Mr Trump will meet the Chinese leader amid an escalating trade war, with new U.S. tariffs on China goods set to take effect a month from now.   

The U.S. President has  sought to use the gathering to make his own trade deals, signing a pact with Mexico and Canada to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

One EU official told reporters that the G20’s final statement is likely to reflect 19 members supporting the Paris climate accord with the U.S. stating its opposition to it. 

The American delegation is also said to have held up discussion of how to manage refugees and migrants, but that the final statement is expected to mention the need to manage migration on a global level. 

Also looming large amid dozens of bilateral meetings in Buenos Aires was the gruesome slaying of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate. 

Many countries suspect Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of having ordered the killing. The prince is at the summit but denies any knowledge of or involvement in Khashoggi’s death.  

World leaders did have a brief moment of unity early on Sunday as tributes poured in for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush who died on Friday evening. 

Mr Trump hailed his predecessor, saying he had ‘inspired Americans’ with his ‘essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country’. 

Vladimir Putin joined the tributes, saying: ‘A distinguished man has passed away. One who served his country for his entire life, with a weapon in his hands during wartime and in high office during peacetime.’ 

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