Boris Johnson was slapped down by Downing Street over his comments, saying his views did not represent official Government policy. Mr Johnson was caught on video accusing British ally Saudi Arabia of being behind “proxy wars”.
Theresa May was invited to the gulf summit as observing candidate and her official spokesperson said the Foreign Secretary’s comments about the activities of the autocratic petro-state were his own view and did not reflect Government policy.
Mr Johnson has previously refused to criticize the same countries and defended his government sales of weapons to them.
Mr Johnson however told the Med2 conference in Rome last week: “There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives. That’s one of the biggest political problems in the whole region.
“And the tragedy for me – and that’s why you have these proxy wars being fought the whole time in that area – is that there is not strong enough leadership in the countries themselves.”
He added: “That’s why you’ve got the Saudis, Iran, everybody, moving in and puppeteering and playing proxy wars.”
The footage of the conference, published in The Guardian newspaper, is embarrassing for Mr Johnson, who is due to visit the autocratic petro-state on Sunday.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry accused the government of hypocrisy, saying Mr. Johnson has been defending not to stop the support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “As the Foreign Secretary made very clear on Sunday, we are allies with Saudi Arabia and support them in their efforts to secure their borders and protect their people. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong and misinterpreting the facts.”
Ms Theresa meeting with the gulf states in Bahrain comes as a trial of renewing relations that both parties are seeing critical, as Britain exits EU and is seeking more financial agreements with the wealthy counties, and gulf is facing an fuzzy future relation with the USA after Elected president Trump taking over in few weeks, and having a high tensed relation with its neighbors Iran that confronts them now in many fronts.