A few months before, at a gathering in May 2015 convened by the French government ahead of the Paris climate talks, Saudi Arabia's oil minister was asked about his country's strategy after the end of the oil era. His answer: We will keep exporting energy, except it will be solar power which we will sell to the world.
Here comes one last opportunity: don't squander it. Our own civil rights leaders are in prison. If President Obama mentions no one else, let him raise the case of Zainab Al-Khawaja, or the Saudi youth Ali Al-Nimr who faces crucifixion, and hold them up as high as Rosa Parks. Ordinary acts face extraordinary repression in the Gulf, but there remains a chance to change that.
World attention on the conflict in the Middle East is primarily focused on Syria and Iraq, and much less so on the catastrophe in Yemen, which has cost the lives of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes. The Saudi monarchy, with Britain's open support, has been waging war on Yemen for a year, and yet few Britons know anything about it.
Maybe we shouldn't fret. As with the old reggae producers (King Tubby et al), we've apparently got our top people in the control room when it comes to the Saudi-Yemen onslaught (Philip Hammond, you might say, is "at the controls"). No, let's stop worrying and learn to love the bombing campaign in Yemen. Now repeat after me, "We have some of the most stringent export controls ...".
Countries like Saudi Arabia aren't just buying UK arms, they are also buying political support and very often silence about the human rights abuses they preside over. Changing this will take more than the cancellation of a few licences. It will need a complete overhaul of government foreign policy and an end to the hypocrisy at the heart of it.
Fundamental questions need to be asked about the UK Government's relationship with Saudi Arabia and calling the execution of 47 prisoners, some who were political prisoners only 'disappointing' is an embarrassing stance from the Government, a Government that is far too close to a regime with serious human rights abuses.
As UK citizens it's important we stand in solidarity with CAAT's legal action, lending our signatures to their online petition, and lobbying our MPs to take a stand in the commons. It is clear, now more than ever, that the UK has to review this destructive trade relationship. It's time for the UK to #StopArmingSaudi.