Charles to return to Saudi Arabia

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Published: Thursday 29th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The Prince of Wales will make an official visit to Saudi Arabia next month, just a few weeks after flying to the country to pay his respects following the death of King Abdullah.

Last weekend Charles travelled to the capital Riyadh, as did a number of world leaders including David Cameron, amid fresh condemnation of the Arab state’s human rights record.

The decision to fly flags at half-mast on key public buildings in London d rew sharp criticism from some prominent politicians over Saudi Arabia’s abuses of free speech, women’s rights and the country’s role as a cradle of Islamist extremism.

Abdullah died aged 90 last Thursday after two decades in control of the world’s biggest oil exporter. He has been succeeded by his 79-year-old half-brother, Salman.

It is expected that the prince will have a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s new monarch.

The heir to the throne’s trip to Saudi is part of a tour of the Middle East that will also include Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates from February 7-12.

Charles is making the trip following a request by the Government, after visiting the region last year.

Jordan is in the middle of a hostage crisis, with authorities in the Arab nation reportedly offering to free an Iraqi prisoner for a Jordanian pilot held by Islamic State.

Its head of state King Abdullah II, who trained at Sandhurst, is a friend of Charles, as are many of the Gulf state’s ruling royal families.

Clarence House said in a statement: “The Prince of Wales’s return to the region, only one year after his last tour, demonstrates the importance Her Majesty’s Government places on its association with key partners in the area.

“These connections are underpinned by the long-standing and respectful relationships which exist between the Royal Family and the ruling families in the Gulf.”

Published: Thursday 29th January 2015 by The News Editor

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