By Arab News
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been invited to visit Saudi Arabia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Arab News has exclusively learned from senior sources at the Saudi Embassy in the UK and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The sources told Arab News a “very positive and very pleasant” meeting took place between the Crown Prince and the Archbishop in London yesterday.
Earlier this week, Prince Mohammed said that all Coptic Christians were welcome in Saudi Arabia, during a tour of Cairo’s main Cathedral.
The Crown Prince met Archbishop Justin Welby in Lambeth Palace, where they spoke for an hour.
“The Crown Prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond,” a Lambeth Palace statement said.
Prince Mohammed and the Archbishop viewed fragments of a Qur’an manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015, thought to be among the world’s oldest. They also viewed a selection of early Christian and Jewish texts.
On the second full day of his landmark visit to the UK, some of the biggest corporate names from Saudi Arabia and the UK announced deals worth SR8 billion ($2.13 billion).
As CEOs from both countries gathered at a forum in London’s Mansion House, 18 agreements were signed between them.
During the three-day visit, the countries have set out plans to build £65 billion ($90.29 billion) of trade and investment ties.
Among the new partnerships, a preliminary agreement was signed between Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell.
Other deals covered sectors including health, investment, innovation and energy.
The Crown Prince also met British finance minister Philip Hammond at the Saudi embassy in London as well as members of the British parliament from different political parties.
The Crown Prince’s visit also coincided with International Women’s Day.
Hoda Al-Helaissi, a member of the Shoura Council, told an event at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank that empowering women is “crucial” to transforming Saudi Arabia.
“A country’s true development can only come about… when it uses 100 percent of its human resources, male and female,” she said.