Saudi crown prince begins landmark UK visit

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman landed in the UK Tuesday on a landmark trip, and was received by UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. (SPA)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Saudi crown prince begins landmark UK visit

LONDON: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman landed in the UK Tuesday on a landmark trip with a broad agenda spanning business, defense and political ties.
During the three-day visit, Crown Prince Mohammed is expected to meet Prime Minister Theresa May, the Queen (full gallery here) and other members of the British royal family.
His arrival in Britain has been highly anticipated, with extensive media coverage of relations between the two countries in the build-up.
Billboards highlighting the visit have been erected in parts of London and along major highways into the capital.
One shows the flags of the two countries with “United Kingdoms” written across the top. Another shows Crown Prince Mohammed with the slogan “He is bringing change to Saudi Arabia.”
Crown Prince Mohammed said the two countries enjoyed historic ties that dated back more than 100 years to the foundation of the Kingdom.
“We have a common interest that goes back to the earliest days of the relationship,” he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper published yesterday. “Our relationship with Britain today is super,” he said.
Events scheduled for the visit include a forum on business partnerships between the two countries and a discussion meeting at Chatham House.
Business relations are expected to be a key feature of the visit.
Saudi Arabia is the UK’s largest trading partner in the Middle East with the flow of goods and services between the two countries in 2016 worth more than £8 billion, according to the Financial Times.
Britain could be a major beneficiary of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic plan to diversify the economy away from oil, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said.
“After Brexit, there will be huge opportunities for Britain as a result of Vision 2030,” he told the BBC.
The British prime minister has welcomed the visit as a chance to strengthen relations.
“The partnership between the UK and Saudi Arabia already helps make both our countries safer through intelligence-sharing which has saved British lives, and more prosperous, with thousands of jobs created in the UK and substantial opportunities for British companies in Saudi Arabia,” the PM’s office said.


Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

Updated 17 min 24 sec ago
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Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

  • A fan named Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time.
  • Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup dreams were shattered after Uruguay beat the Green Falcons 1-0 in the second of the three group-stage matches. Most Saudi fans in Jeddah were much happier with the team’s performance in game two, following the resounding 5-0 defeat by host nation Russia in the opening match on June 14, but still bitterly disappointed by the loss, which means they cannot qualify for the knockout stages.

Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time. “Although we lost, the performance was much better than the first game with Russia. I hope we win our next match,” he said.

Nasrah, who watched the game with her two sons, said: “I was really disappointed because we played good today and nothing less than a win should have been acceptable. I am also disappointed to see the looks on my boys faces when the game ended as they were hoping for a win.”

Khalid Al-Raghbi said at least it had been a good match to watch. “We played a bit better today,” he added. “I wish we would have won but at least we performed better than our last match against Russia.”

Before the game, Ibrahim Al-Turki had been optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s chances. “We didn’t expect today’s result. I was thinking that Saudi would win by two goals, and Uruguay would score one,” he said.

The result was especially disappointing given the close result and the number of chances the Saudis had to score, said Badr, who added: “I don’t know what to tell you because we are deeply disappointed. At least if we lost with a big defeat I would say we deserved it. We had the potential but we could not score.”

Shadi Al-Ghamdi said he wished the national team’s much improved performance in their second game had been more evident in their first. “I am very proud of the players, I thought they played very well. I just wish they had played like this against Russia," he said.

Safah was less complimentary and said that the Saudi players had let their fans down, adding: “They seemed scared whenever they attempted to score any goals.”

Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25. It will be the final game in the competition for both sides, with only pride to play for, as they battle it out to see who will finish third in the group and who will be left in bottom spot.