Saudi crown prince meets Queen Elizabeth, Theresa May at start of UK visit

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman meeting Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman arrives at 10 Downing Street for a meeting with UK PM Theresa May. (AFP)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman arrives at 10 Downing Street for a meeting with UK PM Theresa May. (AFP)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman arrived in the UK on Tuesday evening and was received by UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. (SPA)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Saudi crown prince meets Queen Elizabeth, Theresa May at start of UK visit

LONDON: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth as he launched his landmark visit to the UK. 
Saudi Arabia and Britain will use the visit build a broader economic relationship, and improve security and defense ties. 
Prince Mohammed and his delegation met May and senior ministers at Downing Street to launch a UK-Saudi “Strategic Partnership Council.”
The initiative will encourage wide-ranging economic reforms in Saudi Arabia and foster cooperation on issues such as education and culture, as well as defense and security.
Earlier the crown prince had lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, a rare gesture usually reserved for heads of state. He was scheduled to dine with Prince Charles and Prince William later in the day.
May defended Britain’s defense and security ties with Saudi Arabia in parliament, saying close cooperation had helped save the lives of hundreds of people.
“The link that we have with Saudi Arabia is historic, it is an important one, and it has saved the lives of potentially hundreds of people in this country,” the prime minister said in response to a question from opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
She said that the UK has had a “longstanding and historic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and that will continue.
Under the crown prince, Saudi Arabia “is reforming, is changing, is giving more rights to women,” May said, adding that the UK will “stand alongside” the Kingdom to deliver on his vision.
Foreign minister Boris Johnson led the welcoming party for Prince Mohammed on his arrival late on Tuesday.
For Britain, the visit is a chance to cement trading partnerships as it approaches Brexit and an exit from the European Union. It is also looking to play a key role exporting services to the Gulf’s largest economy as Saudi Arabia pushes through its ambitious Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy away from oil. 
Britain is also hoping to land the stock market listing of Saudi Aramco, expected to be the world’s largest IPO.
“We would like the Aramco share option to be issued in the United Kingdom and we will continue to suggest the City would be the best place for it,” junior foreign office minister Alistair Burt told parliament.
Later this month Prince Mohammed will visit the United States, which also wants the lucrative listing.
The three-day UK visit is also expected to include a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as well as lunch with May at the prime minister’s rural retreat, Chequers, and talks with Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson.


Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

Events are planned across the country to accompany the Souq Okaz festival. (AFP)
Updated 11 min 58 sec ago
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Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

  • Makkah will host a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs
  • Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events

JEDDAH: Events accompanying Souq Okaz that promote the market and invite people to visit its cultural and heritage activities will kick off on Wednesday, under the patronage of King Salman. The Souq is organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and will run June 27 to July 13.

Makkah will host the event of “The Historical Convoys of Thi Al-Mejna and Thi Al-Mijaz Souqs,” a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs. These convoys show the method traders adopted to beat travel exhaustion and entertain themselves as they would sing about Souq Okaz and invite people to visit it.

Madinah will host the event “Let’s go to Souq Okaz,” which will encourage people to attend the cultural and heritage events. This event includes activities such as folk shows and interactive, innovative and heritage competitions.

Jeddah will host several cultural seminars focusing on the history of the souq as well as poetry readings and a theatrical show that represents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz.

Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events.

Taif will host “Souq Okaz for Performance Arts,” an event that includes heritage and cultural performance activities that reflect the souq’s identity in Al-Hada, Shifa and Ar-Rudaf Park. 

The events accompanying the souq this year will be launched on Friday in Al-Baha and many archaeological sites in the provinces of Al-Mikhwat, Al-Qura and Al-Mandaq.

The events include the camel convoy, horse shows, traditional folk and dancing shows, artifacts, Saudi traditional dishes and the introduction of some popular traditional and historical souqs in the regions.