Saudi prince makes religious freedom commitment in meeting with Justin Welby

10 March, 2018, 01:42 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Prime Minister Theresa May was asked about her meeting with the Saudi crown prince during PMQs on Wednesday

Critics remain unimpressed. Hundreds protested his United Kingdom visit outside the prime minister's residence at 10 Downing Street.

However, his arrival drew protests on the streets of London over the brutal Yemen conflict.

Outside Downing Street protesters organised by the Campaign Against Arms Trade are expected to gather.

The Downing Street spokesperson insisted May had raised the issue of Yemen with the crown prince.

British officials were particularly pleased with the decision of 32-year-old Saudi leader to choose Britain as the main Western destination during his first trip overseas since he became the heir of the Saudi Kind last year. The war has killed an estimated 10,000 people with 8.3 million people depending on food aid and 400,000 children have life-threatening levels of malnutrition.

He will seek to present an image of a friendlier, more tolerant Saudi Arabia which is modernizing fast and open for business.

However, Prince Salman said Qatar would not be barred from attending an Arab summit hosted by Saudi Arabia later this month. "It is important, and has saved the lives of hundreds of people in this country", said Theresa May. "Their involvement in Yemen came at the request of the legitimate government of the Yemen, it is backed by the UN Security Council and as such we support it".




Speakers at the first panel discussion, titled "An Era of Transformation: From Vision to Implementation" included Minister of Energy, Mining and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Commerce and Investment Majed Al-Kasabi, Minister of Economy and Planning Muhammad Al-Tuwaijri, UK Special Representative on Saudi Vision 2030 Ken Costa, CEO of Dow Chemical Andrew Liveris and British Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion Baroness Fairhead.

"This vindicates the engagement that we have with Saudi Arabia, to be able to sit down with them", she said.

"I have no doubt that it's a very deep relationship", he added.

A fiery exchange in parliament between May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn underlined tension in Britain over Prince Mohammed's trip, which was aimed at building a broader economic partnership between the two countries, but has sparked anger about alleged human rights abuses and the war in Yemen. He went on to further criticise the Tory government for welcoming the prince. They follow a tumultuous period that saw a major military shake-up and a royal purge, part of a sweeping power play by the prince.

Despite some criticism from politicians on the left and anti-war campaigners to the visit, the overall message is clear - both Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom will stand to benefit from a closer relationship with each other rather than drifting apart. Joint Strategic Partnership Council is also under consideration.

So could a Saudi woman ever become the chief executive officer of Aramco - the giant state oil company that's planning one of the largest initial public offerings in history?

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