Egypt to donate slice of Sinai to Saudi mega-development

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

British Prime Minister Theresa May will hold talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at her country residence on Thursday, diplomatic sources said, in another sign of the importance with which London is treating his visit.

Most detainees have now been released, and the authorities say they have arranged to seize more than $100 billion in assets.

The trip will include lunch with Queen Elizabeth, a dinner with heir to the throne Prince Charles and his son Prince William, and meetings with British intelligence chiefs.

Any visit to the London Stock Exchange - and later the New York Stock Exchange - will be watched closely by investors because of the potentially lucrative Aramco listing expected later this year.

He said the job at hand was to promote a "more moderate Islam", to counter the "extremists and the terrorists (who) are linked through spreading their agenda".

Announced in October by the energetic de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Neom will try and attract foreign investment to cultivate new industries including water and energy, food, media, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology and entertainment.

"They criticize us for a war in Yemen that is a just war, that is supported by global law", he added.


Elsewhere, in diplomatic and regional circles, Prince Mohammed's embrace of Donald Trump and his embattled son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been described as "a beginner's mistake", which has undermined efforts to counter Iran.

Anti-war and human rights groups plan a protest outside May's Downing Street office on Wednesday.

'Theresa May should use this visit to announce the United Kingdom will no longer supply arms to Saudi Arabia while the devastating Saudi-led bombing of Yemen continues and make clear Britain's strong opposition to widespread human and civil rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, ' opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

"We have constantly condemned the use of these weapons by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and called for the suspension of the arms sales to Saudi Arabia to show that we are wanting a peace process in Yemen, not an invasion by Saudi Arabia", he said.

Riyadh has been a crucial financial backer of Sisi, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been strengthening their economic ties since he came to power in 2013 after ousting his elected predecessor in a popular-backed coup.

"We want to fight terrorism, and we want to fight extremism because we need to build stability in the Middle East", he said.

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