In meeting with Welby, Saudi crown prince vows to promote religious freedom

Demonstrators to gather outside Downing Street as Mohammad bin Salman begins UK visit

The Iranian Parliament Speaker's Special Aide in International Affairs has called Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman the "real evil" and "abomination" in the Middle East region.

He is only 32, with no long record of big jobs to test him or to bring him into contact with the West. After 2015, there is an increase of nearly 500% in the sale of British weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Not only is he young, ...

But foreign secretary Boris Johnson defended the UK's ties to Saudi Arabia, saying: 'The closer our relations the more able we will be, we believe, to influence the conduct of that war'.

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Outside Downing Street protesters organised by the Campaign Against Arms Trade are expected to gather. "In a Saudi context, these changes have huge significance".

"Hands off Yemen" was the rallying cry, targeting Saudi Arabia's brutal bombardment and blockade on Yemen.

During his recent visit to Egypt, his first foreign trip since becoming heir to the Saudi throne, the crown prince also accused Turkey of trying to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate which was abolished almost a century ago when the Ottoman Empire collapsed, Reuters reported on March 7, citing Egypt's Al-Shorouk newspaper.

The crown prince's trips to Egypt, Britain and later this month the United States are aimed partly at courting investors.

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Photographs posted online showed London taxis displaying advertising graphics welcoming PrinceMohammed, and electronic billboards around the capital promoted pro-Saudi messages with the hashtag #anewsaudiarabia. The Saudi Delegation will meet with the Prime Minister and high-level ministers of Downing Street to launch a Strategic Partnership Council between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia - an initiative to promote economic reforms in Saudi Arabia and promote cooperation on issues such as education, culture and security.

Business deals are possible with British defense group BAE Systems and European weapons maker MBDA, and initial agreements could be concluded on gas exploration, petrochemicals and other industries, according to British and Saudi sources.

"We need to recognize that driving is a superficial activity, not the real empowerment we strive for in Saudi Arabia", Khalid Al-Falih said in a Bloomberg television interview in London.

The Prime Minister also raised the situation in Yemen with the Saudi royal.

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"The Kingdom's logistic services are the core of local production, filling gaps in the fields of oil, gas and renewable energy, contributing to worldwide competitiveness and exporting the Saudi services and goods that will be between the Kingdom and Britain, as the Kingdom did with the United States of America, China and others", he said, adding that the Saudi-UK Strategic Partnership brings about eight joint programs where the United Kingdom is the third state dealing with Saudi Arabia in addition to U.S. and China.

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