Saudi King Meets the Queen

The Queen has ceremonially welcomed Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to Britain as controversy continues to grow around the Middle Eastern ruler's visit.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh greeted the Saudi King on Horseguards Parade.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Minister for the Middle East Kim Howells joined dignitaries to welcome the king who arrived at the central London parade ground with the Prince of Wales.

King Abdullah shook hands with the Queen and also with the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair.

However, human rights protestors and anti-arms trade activists were also among the crowds at The Mall and they jeered and shouted as the Royal procession passed.

King Abdullah's visit is the first time that a Saudi monarch has visited Britain for 20 years.

He sparked controversy during a BBC interview ahead of his visit when he accused Britain of not doing enough to fight international terrorism and accused the UK of failing to act on information provided by the Saudis, which he said could have prevented the London bombings in July 2005: a claim that has been strenuously denied by Downing Street.

Vince Cable, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, announced on Monday that he would be boycotting the king's visit, citing the country's human rights record, as well as alleged corruption in the Al Yamamah arms contract, signed with Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.


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