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Turkey termed as 'triangle of evil' by Saudi prince

10 March, 2018, 01:22 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Welby raises human-rights concerns during private meeting with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday at the start of a controversial state visit where he faces questions over Riyadh's involvement in the Yemen war.

May defended the invitation when she was grilled in parliament over why Prince Mohammed was being afforded the red carpet treatment during his three-day visit.

"Hopefully by next year there are going to be way more rights given to Saudi women, the ones that we deserve", she said. He was expected to return to the royal household for dinner with Prince Charles later in the day, and is due to visit the prime minister's country residence on Thursday for more talks.

Commenting on the meeting, Amnesty International UK's director, Kate Allen, said that she hoped that Archbishop Welby had used the meeting "as an opportunity to personally communicate the Church's concerns over the thousands of Yemeni civilians killed and injured in reckless and indiscriminate Saudi-led coalition air strikes".

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.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK's link with Saudi Arabia has potentially saved the lives of hundreds of people in the UK.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been heavily criticised by some politicians and campaigners, who have accused him of funding extremism in the United Kingdom and carrying out human-rights abuses domestically and in Yemen.

"The overwhelming majority of people in the U.K.do not share Theresa May's political and military support for the Saudi regime", Andrew Smith of Campaign Against the Arms Trade said according to The Independent.

Speaking at a press conference organised by campaign groups protesting against the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, urged Parliament to commission an investigation similar to the investigation by special Counsel Robert Mueller into UAE meddling in American politics.

Ameen Nemer, 38, a Saudi exile from east of the country who attended the protest, told MEE: "My message to bin Salman is for him to stop the war, hands off Yemen and stop arresting and executing peaceful activists and campaigners inside Saudi Arabia".

Leading up to the visit, there had been visible efforts in London to both welcome and reject the crown prince. The big deal will, however, not be announced - namely, the potential listing on the London Stock Exchange of the state oil company Saudi Aramco, which may or may not happen.

May's Conservative government said Mohammed's visit would strengthen co-operation in "tackling worldwide challenges such as terrorism, extremism, the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen and other regional issues".

Demonstrators are protesting against Britain for licensing 4.6 billion pounds of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia since 2015.

Recent research, however, indicates that only a minority of the British population support continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with just 6 percent of respondents to a recent Populus poll being in favor.


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