London – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in London on Tuesday on an official visit to Britain that will last several days.
He was received at the airport by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, and a number of princes and officials.
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 a sign of the importance with which London is treating his visit.
The visit to Chequers, a 16th-century manor house 40 miles (60 km) northwest of London, will be in addition to a previously announced meeting at May’s London office on Wednesday, the sources said on Tuesday.
The inclusion of the prestigious trip to Chequers and two audiences with the British royal family demonstrate the extent to which London is prepared to endorse reforms in Saudi Arabia which have loosened social restrictions on women.
The British government is keen to use the trip to expand their longstanding alliance beyond defence and security, and into two-way trade and investment, eyeing both an expanded market in Saudi Arabia for service sector exports, attracting Saudi cash to finance domestic projects.
The three-day visit, and a trip to the United States later this month, could also shape Saudi Arabia’s decision on where to list oil giant Aramco – something Britain is keen to attract to the City of London – at a time when sources say the chances of London and New York hosting the IPO appear to be receding.