Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II — and criticized by protesters against the war in Yemen — as he began a three-day visit to Britain on Wednesday, AP reported.
Britain is rolling out the red carpet for Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, who had lunch with the queen at Buckingham Palace and will dine later with Prince Charles and Prince William.
He is also due to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, who said she would raise concerns about human rights during talks at 10 Downing St.
Critics say Britain has been slow to condemn rights abuses by Saudi Arabia, a key regional ally and major purchaser of U.K.-made weapons.
Campaigners against the war rallied near Parliament and said they would protest later outside the gates of Downing St.
Asked by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn whether she would condemn Saudi Arabia’s “shocking abuse of human rights,” May defended Britain’s close ties with the authoritarian kingdom.
“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,” May said in the House of Commons.
“We’re all concerned about the appalling humanitarian situation in Yemen,” May said, adding: “I will be raising concerns about human rights when I meet him.”