Saudi crown prince meets banking bosses in London

Pauline Gross
March 9, 2018

Bin Salman was welcomed at London airport by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson late on Tuesday. On the first day of the trip, he dined with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and met Prime Minister Theresa May and her ministers in Downing Street.

The meeting with the Archbishop came after Prime Minister Theresa May and the Crown Prince used Downing Street talks to lay out plans for a £65 billion trade and investment package.

The spokesman said that Mrs May brought-up the issues of Yemen and human rights in the talks. Though they have vehemently denied it, the rebel forces are suspected to be backed by Iran and the new government is being protected by a coalition of Middle Eastern countries led by Saudi Arabia.

A spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister raised our deep concerns at the humanitarian situation in Yemen".

Quizzing Theresa May about the UK-Saudi relationship at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Mr Corbyn added: "It can not be right that her Government is colluding in what the United Nations says is evidence of war crimes".

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman.

In November, Saudi Arabia's large-scale anti-corruption purge saw over 300 individuals, including members of the royal family, businessmen, and former and current government officials, get arrested, with many forced to turn over their personal fortunes to the kingdom. The military aggression has so far killed over 13,600 Yemenis.

The UK has increased its weapons sales by around 500 percent since the onset of the Saudi invasion, according to a report by The Independent.

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"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.

Britain is looking for trading partners as it exits the European Union, and energy powerhouse Saudi Arabia needs to convince skeptical investors about its domestic reforms. The British government seeks to turn its historic defense relations into trade and investment, focusing both on the expanding Saudi Arabian export market in the services sector and on attracting Saudi money to finance domestic projects.

The visit comes as the London Stock Exchange also vies for the Saudi Aramco oil company to be listed in the capital, in what has been described as the biggest company float in history.

The magazine said it had removed the 10 Saudi billionaires who made the cut past year, including those detained in the crackdown like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The debate took place as Prince Mohammed lunched with the British monarch on the first leg of a trip packed with displays of diplomatic affection created to help widen long-standing defense ties into a more far-reaching partnership.

The UK shouldn't be blinded by the charm offensive surrounding Prince Mohammed, the opposition Labour Party's foreign affairs spokeswoman, Emily Thornberry, said Wednesday in a Bloomberg TV interview.

Numerous billboards welcoming the crown prince appeared along the motorways that connect Heathrow Airport to central London - suggesting that Mohammed may have been the intended audience.

Other reports by GizPress

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