The outgoing UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia,Sir Tom Phillips KCMG, today visited Asharqia Chamber and met with Chamber's Chairman Mr. Abdulrahman Rashed Al Rashed. Sir Phillips will leave the Kingdom by the end of this month and the new British Ambassador, Sir John Jenkins, will join his office by next June.
Sir Phillips thanked Asharqia Chamber for extending support and cooperation to the UK Embassy in Riyadh and the British Trade Office at Al Khobar in bolstering trade and commercial relations between the two kingdoms.Sir Phillips has been British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia since September 2010.
It is an exciting time to be the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said Mr. Phillips, pointing to a lot of friends he made during his two years of services in the Kingdom. "I am delighted to have the opportunity to play my part in strengthening and deepening the relationships between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia," he observed.
Mr. Phillips focused on Saudi-UK cooperation in various economic sectors particularly in the fields of training and education. He pointed out the British Council's Springboard Women's Development Program which was designed to develop the capabilities of women workers at Kingdom’s chambers of commerce and industry. British Council Saudi Arabia has been running Springboard Program since 2004 in cooperation with the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The UK diplomat highlighted upcoming major events-- London 2012 Olympic Games which will take place for two weeks from July 17, as well as Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in early June. He expected that many Saudis will visit London to participate in these events.
He also noted that the British Council is now exhibiting selected artworks from its art collection for the first time in Saudi Arabia in collaboration with the National Museum in Riyadh. The show titled 'Out of Britain' focuses on the theme of the British landscape, from the urban to the rural and the UK’s encircling coastline. The exhibition opened on April 23 and will run till May 25, 2012.
Mr. Phillips said that Saudi Arabia remains a key strategic partner of the UK, and its most important market in the region."In Saudi Arabia,enormous opportunities are opening up for infrastructure development, including ports, railways and the new Economic Cities. Important reforms are being implemented in the education and health sectors. Numerous British companies are present in the Kingdom and some 20,000 British citizens live and work here," he added.