Saudi crown prince meets with MPs and religious leaders

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with British Chancellor Philip Hammond and CEOs of major British companies. (SPA)
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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby greets Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a private meeting at Lambeth Palace in London on Mar 8, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 10 March 2018
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Saudi crown prince meets with MPs and religious leaders

LONDON: In a packed schedule, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met political and religious leaders yesterday on the second full day of his landmark visit to Britain.
Following on from his first day, in which he had lunch with Queen Elizabeth II and met with Prime Minister Theresa May, the crown prince met with MPs and ministers as business leaders gathered from the two countries in the capital.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion of millions of Christians globally, received the crown prince at Lambeth Palace in central London, where the two talked for an hour.
“The crown prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond,” a statement from Lambeth Palace said.
He also extended an invitation to the Archbishop to visit Saudi Arabia, senior sources at both the Saudi Embassy in the United Kingdom and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Arab News.
Earlier this week, Crown Prince Mohammed met Coptic Pope Tawadros II at Cairo’s largest cathedral, and invited Egypt’s Christians to visit Saudi Arabia.
He has said in interviews that he wants to return Saudi Arabia to “moderate Islam” that is open to the world and tolerant of other faiths.
Crown Prince Mohammed and the Archbishop viewed a selection of early texts from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths, including fragments of a Qur’an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015, which are thought to be among the world’s oldest, Reuters reported.
“The Archbishop shared his concern about limits placed on Christian worship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and highlighted the importance for leaders of all faiths to support freedom of religion or belief, drawing on the experience of the UK,” the statement said.
Welby also “voiced his distress” at the humanitarian situation in Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthi militias overthrew the internationally recognized government in 2014 sparking the conflict.
Saudi Arabia leads an Arab coalition supporting forces loyal to the president against the militias and their allies.
On Wednesday night, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “Iran is playing a destructive and dangerous role in Yemen and destabilizing the region.”
Speaking at a news conference with the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir he said there had been “a British-Saudi agreement to control shipping lines in preparation for the opening of Yemeni ports.”
Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia agreed with Britain “on the need to deter Iran and stop its support for terrorism.”
“We support the transitional process and the political dialogue in Yemen,” he added, stressing that “the war there was imposed on us.”
He pointed out that “the Houthis have rebuffed all attempts to reach a political solution in Yemen.”
The Saudi foreign minister affirmed the Kingdom’s continued humanitarian assistance to Yemen after the war.
Yesterday, the crown prince also met with Philip Hammond the treasury secretary and they discussed ways to improve economic cooperation between the two countries as well as opportunities that may arise from the implementation of the Vision 2030 plan to move the Saudi economy away from oil.
He also held talks with MPs from all parties and the heads heads of parliamentary committees for the armed forces, foreign affairs and intelligence.


Jeddah to host first global village in Saudi Arabia

The marketing plan of the village has been put in place to target private and international schools to ensure high attendance. (Shutterstock)
Updated 9 min 10 sec ago
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Jeddah to host first global village in Saudi Arabia

  • “Participants from some 50 countries have so far confirmed their interest in taking part in the festival, which will be held on an area of more than 45,000 square meters,” Suzan Eskander said

JEDDAH: For the first time in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah will host a multicultural festival that takes visitors on a virtual tour of 50 countries.
The global village will be set up inside Atallah Happy Land Park along the city’s famous waterfront every day from 5 p.m. to midnight between Feb. 28 and March 29.
The event is one of many aiming to enhance tourism, as well as the local economy.
Suzan Eskander, director-general of International Image, the organizing company, told Arab News that the village is expected to attract 1 million visitors.
“Participants from some 50 countries have so far confirmed their interest in taking part in the festival, which will be held on an area of more than 45,000 square meters,” she said.
“There will be pavilions for participants from five Gulf Cooperation Council states, 10 Arab countries, 18 African countries, 10 European countries and four countries from the Americas.”
She added that folkloric dances would be performed by bands from each country.
“Performers will be dressed in traditional costumes,” she said. “Visitors can also enjoy dishes and traditional products from different countries.”
Eskander also said paintings portraying heritage and culture in the different countries would be on display.
“In addition, we are hopeful that the children’s zone will wow young visitors,” she said. “Little guests can develop their skills in drawing and games, as well as play zones.”
Eskander said the village was timed to coincide with the city’s good weather season, adding that a marketing plan has been put in place to target private and international schools to ensure high attendance. Eskander expressed her gratitude to the General Entertainment Authority for their continued support and cooperation.
“They have not only provided us instructions for obtaining the festival’s license, but are still following up to ensure that everything is going smoothly,” she said.