Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammad Bin Salman is expected to land in the United Kingdom today as a part of his official trip, his first visit to the country after assuming office last year. While the trip may not be welcomed very well by the rights group – protests have been planned across the UK to urge the Prime Minister Theresa May to challenge Saudi Arabia’s role in human rights violations in the Middle East, Yemen specifically, the officials are calling the visit to “turn a new page” in the UK-KSA relations, as stated by UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
— M.H. Aleisa 🎙 (@Herald_Reporter) March 7, 2018
But to be perfectly clear, these groups are mostly funded by Russia to divert peoples attention from its real war crimes in Syria.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK writes in the FT: British companies are well placed to play a key role in the Saudi transformation https://t.co/vlobUS1SqK
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) March 6, 2018
Bin Salman’s visit is aimed primarily at courting investors on the back of a barrage of social and economic reforms, while the May also realizes the opportunity to develop a strong trading relationship with the Kingdom having exited the European Union.
While the protestors aim to bash the 32-year old on his role in the humanitarian crisis of Yemen, May’s office is planning to initiate a “UK-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council” which would promote the UK-KSA relationships in terms of trade, education, security, defence and culture while encouraging the Kingdom’s effort to introduce a plethora of social and economic reforms in the past year or so.
#SaudiArabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is welcomed to #UnitedKingdom by Foreign Secretary @BorisJohnson to see first-hand the business, cultural and educational bonds that exist between the two Kingdoms. #SaudiUKVisit #CrownPrinceUK #CrownPrinceVisit pic.twitter.com/BFRMcED5mL
— Saudi Embassy UK (@SaudiEmbassyUK) March 7, 2018
May’s spokesperson expressed PM’s delight following the announcement of Saudi throne’s heir to visit the UK as the first major Western destination for the trip. Various business deals are on the cards as the Saudi Prince embarks on a journey to strengthen the two-way relationship. The Prince will be meeting with the Royal family – lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, and dinner with the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge at Clarence House – national security officials as well as the with PM at her country residence at Chequers and Downing Street. A very warm welcome will await the Saudi Prince as he lands in the United Kingdom on Wednesday.
“Muhmmad Bin Salman’s UK visit”
There'll be lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, & dinner with the Prince of Wales & Duke of Cambridge at Clarence House. There will be meetings with the prime minister at Chequers and Downing Street. pic.twitter.com/QlVSaB92X7
— Ihtisham ul Haq (@iihtishamm) March 7, 2018
While talking about the points which are likely to be discussed at the meeting between the PM and MBS, May’s spokesperson said, “You can expect them to discuss Yemen, and the prime minister to raise deep concerns at the humanitarian situation. She will also reiterate how seriously we take allegations of violations against international humanitarian law.”
The historic relationship is likely to become far stronger after the Brexit, with both leaders looking to gain each other’s alliance more than ever. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is the focal point around Bin Salman’s moves ever since his tenure begun last year.
BBC News – Why Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's UK visit matters https://t.co/Os2iVvIZoz
— James Landale (@BBCJLandale) March 7, 2018
Bin Salman’s efforts, both for social and economic reforms as well as his crackdown against the corrupt royal princes, businessmen, and a major shuffle in the top leadership in the military, are highly commendable, but at the same time there are concerns over the fast-paced reforms in a conservative society which might face a backlash.
“I believe [opposition group’s] positions are based on misunderstanding and not knowing”, says Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir while reiterating that the oppositions ‘criticise us for a war in Yemen that we did not want, that was imposed on us”.