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Saudi Crown Prince’s UK Visit Delayed Amid Protest Fears

Anti-war Hands Off Yemen protest at the Saudi Embassy in LondonAnti-war Hands Off Yemen protest at the Saudi Embassy in London

A controversial visit to London by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS) is set to be delayed, amid reports that officials in Riyadh are concerned over possible protests and unflattering media coverage of the powerful young royal, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The planned three-day visit of the self-described reformer, who is the chief architect of the ongoing US-backed Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen, was due to go ahead this month, but MEE understands the visit has been pushed back to 7 March after officials expressed unease over negative media coverage and the prospects of protests over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and role in the ongoing Yemen civil war.

A three-part BBC documentary aired last month is understood to have upset Saudi diplomats after it explored an unprecedented crackdown on corruption, which saw MBS detain hundreds of the richest people in the kingdom.

To the dismay of Riyadh the documentary, “House of Saud: A Family At War”, portrayed the Saudi ruling family as facing a “moment of unprecedented instability” as it confronts an ongoing diplomatic conflict with Qatar, rivalry with Iran and a bloody stalemate in Yemen.

MBS has not left Saudi Arabia since the start of the anti-corruption purge on November 4, reportedly over fears of internal disorder in his absence, and his visit to London will be part of a extended trip that is expected to see him visit Paris and Washington.

MEE understands the UK leg will see him meet British Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street but also spend time outside of the capital with senior members of the British royal family, most likely at Windsor Castle in Berkshire or at Sandringham House in Norfolk.

 

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