Saudi Arabia’s crown prince will first visit PM Theresa May to discuss terrorism, extremism and the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
May responded that her relationship with Prince Mohammed had already helped alleviate the humanitarian crisis by convincing him to ease Saudi blockades of ports in Yemen during a meeting in December.
Saudi Arabia- Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) is setting example for all as he visits a Coptic pope on his tour to Egypt.
He was greeted by Boris Johnson upon his arrival, and has met the Queen for lunch. Wednesday’s first official engagement was a trip to Buckingham Palace for talks and a meal with the British monarch – a rare honour usually reserved for heads of state.
The crown prince will jointly host with May the inaugural UK-Saudi strategic partnership council in No. 10, the prime minister’s office and residence.
Any visit to the London Stock Exchange and later the New York Stock Exchange will be watched closely by investors because of the potentially lucrative Aramco listing expected later this year.
Aside from overseeing radical departures from tradition in the religiously conservative country, the heir to the Saudi kingdom also instigated a crackdown on corruption that saw ministers, businessmen and even fellow princes arrested and detained in 2017.
“Since the devastating war in Yemen began, the United Kingdom government has licensed nearly £5 billion (A$8.88 billion) worth of arms to the Saudi military”, he said.
Saudi Arabia has bought advertising across London and in newspapers to welcome the prince to the country.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Corbyn said British military personnel were “directing” Saudi military operations responsible for large-scale civilian casualties in Yemen.
“We will need to tap the expertise of others”.
FILE PHOTO: Saudi women arrive to attend Janadriyah Culture Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 8, 2016. In Yemen “we play a part because we are selling arms to them”, she said.
But rights groups and opposition lawmakers have criticised London’s support for the prince, particularly over the licensing of 4.6 billion pounds ($6.37 billion) worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the start of the Yemen conflict.
“The crown prince has overseen the brutal repression and abuse of Saudi people, as well as bad atrocities that have been carried out against the people of Yemen”, Andrew Smith, head of CAAT, told Al Jazeera.
The British royal family has been deployed in an effort to secure major commercial contracts, which has created some unease among Conservative MPs who think the United Kingdom should at least be seen as even-handed in the bitter diplomatic dispute between the Saudis and Qatar.
“I urge Theresa May to now stand for values that Britain can be proud of, a nation that sets an example to the world, that is principled and compassionate and prioritises children’s lives over trade deals”.