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Queen Elizabeth: Saudi crown prince ‘to travel to London to deliver condolences’

Mohammed Bin Salman is reportedly due to lead his country's delegation, but attendance at Queen’s funeral remains 'unconfirmed'
In this file photo taken on 7 March 2018, late Queen Elizabeth II greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Buckingham Palace in central London (AFP)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will travel to the UK to deliver condolences for the death of Queen Elizabeth II, according to a report by the Guardian on Friday.

There is no confirmation, however, whether the Saudi royal will also attend the funeral service at Westminster Abbey on Monday, an unnamed source has told the British newspaper.

The visit will be the first by Mohammed bin Salman to the UK since the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a former columnist for Middle East Eye and the Washington Post, inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018. 

The UK has sanctioned 19 aides to the crown prince suspected of murdering Khashoggi, including former top bin Salman aide Saud al-Qahtani. 

Following Khashoggi's death, Middle East Eye revealed that Qahtani was part of the command structure of a Saudi death squad, which operated under the guidance and supervision of the crown prince.

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A US intelligence report has concluded that the crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi's murder, something that bin Salman denies. The United Nations rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has also accused the crown prince of responsibility for the killing. 

The detailed plan for the Saudi royal's London visit remains unknown, with the Guardian reporting that “sensitive judgments are still being made on whether his attendance at the funeral would represent an unacceptable security threat or a distraction from the commemoration of the Queen due to the protests his presence may provoke.”

Since becoming de facto ruler of the kingdom in 2017, Mohammed bin Salman has overseen a crackdown on critics and human rights activists, with many arrested and jailed. Several mass executions have been carried out including one in March, when 81 people jailed for various crimes were put to death.

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