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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman meets Theresa May at Chequers on day two of UK state visit
Prime Minister expected to press Saudi ally on humanitarian crisis in Yemen during private dinner
Lucy Pasha-Robinson

Thursday 8 March 2018 14:06 GMT
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The Independent Online
Leaders will attend a private dinner at the 16th century manor house AFP/Getty
Saudi Arabia’s new crown princeMohammed bin Salman will travel to Chequers on day two of his three-day state visit. 
MbS, as he is known, will meet with the Prime Minister at her country residence in Buckinghamshire, 40 miles outside of London, where she is expected to press him on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
The leaders will attend a private dinner at the 16th century manor house, where Theresa May will raise concerns off-camera, according to her spokesperson. 
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It comes just a day after the Conservative leader defended Britain’s links to security ally Saudi Arabia as MbS’s arrival drew mass protests over Riyadh’s human rights record.
A fiery exchange in parliament between Ms May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn underlined tension in Britain over MbS’s trip, which was aimed at building a broader economic partnership between the two countries.
Ms May and the crown prince used talks in Downing Street on Wednesday to lay plans for a £65 billion trade and investment package, while also touching on the Yemen conflict.
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A spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister raised our deep concerns at the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
“The Prime Minister and crown prince agreed on the importance of full and unfettered humanitarian and commercial access, including through the ports, and that a political solution was ultimately the only way to end the conflict and humanitarian suffering in Yemen.”
On Wednesday, he had lunch with the Queen and the Duke of York and was to have dinner with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge as the UK rolled out the red carpet for the controversial figure.
On Friday, he will meet Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson for talks.
MbS’s visit has caused widespread controversy over Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen, and the country’s human rights record.
If I were Mohammad bin Salman, I’d be cynical about this visit
Yemen has been embroiled in a bloody civil war since 2014 when rebels took over the capital city of Sanaa.
Saudi Arabia is the main player in a coalition supporting the Yemeni government against the Houthis in a war which has caused a humanitarian catastrophe.
MbS has been the driving force behind a modernisation programme, Vision 2030, in Saudi Arabia – but the reforms have been largely dismissed as a “mirage” by campaigners.
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: “We’d like to see Theresa May finally showing some backbone in the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
Additional reporting by agencies
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