Johnson voices 'deep concern' over Yemen but backs Saudi-led campaign

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Boris Johnson has spoken of the "candour" that exists in Britain's relations with Saudi Arabia following talks in the kingdom just days after it emerged he had criticised the key ally.

The Foreign Secretary suffered a humiliating slapdown from Number 10 when he claimed the kingdom was behind "proxy wars" in the Middle East.

Boris Johnson
(Ben Birchall/PA)

Riyadh is supporting the internationally-recognised government of Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels but thousands have been killed in bombardments.

At a press conference following meetings with King Salman and Saudi ministers, Johnson said he had a "deep concern" about the suffering of Yemenis but backed the Saudi Arabia-led military intervention in the country.

Boris Johnson
(Stefan Rousseau/PA)

"It's not just a relationship based on trade or security, it's a relationship between peoples," he said.

Johnson added: "I should just stress as far a Yemen is concerned, Britain supports the Saudi-led campaign to restore the legitimate government and we have continued our dialogue on the conduct of this operation, a detailed dialogue.

"Of course, we continue, like everybody in this room and around the world to have a deep concern for the suffering of the people of Yemen."