Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Saudi king's state visit to Britain faces protests and boycotts

by Ian Black from The Guardian

Vince Cable, the acting Liberal Democrat leader, announced yesterday that he would boycott the rare visit because of the Saudi record on human rights, including its maltreatment of British citizens. Other groups plan protests over weapons sales, the kingdom's human rights abuses and its homophobic laws. King Abdullah, 82, came to the throne two years ago. He has reformist instincts, but progress in the kingdom has been halting. Saudi Arabia is Britain's biggest trading partner in the Middle East and the UK is its second biggest foreign investor. The Guardian and BBC reported that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, now the king's national security adviser, received secret payments of £1bn. The prince will also be staying at Buckingham Palace ... Labour leftwinger John McDonnell said: "Why is it that in the same breath the prime minister condemns the lack of democracy in Burma and the abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe, but remains silent when it comes to the Saudi dictatorship?"

No comments: