LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah met the Queen on Tuesday at the start of a two-day state visit that has attracted widespread criticism of the Saudi human rights record.
He was due later to attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, where senior members of the Saudi royal family are staying as the Queen’s guests.
Abdullah is scheduled to hold talks with prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday.
The Queen’s meeting with the Saudi monarch came after a day of controversy in which the King said Britain had failed to act on information passed to it by Saudi Arabia which might have helped prevent the 2005 suicide bombings in London that killed 52 people.
In an interview with the BBC, he accused London of failing to do enough to combat international terrorism and said al Qaeda remained a major threat.
The government quickly issued a statement that information received from the Saudis at the time was not specific.
Officials were then forced to deny that Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s cancellation of an appearance at a conference on Monday — where he had been scheduled to speak alongside Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal — was not a snub.
Officials said he cancelled because he was taking leave after adopting a second child.
Rights demonstrators and protesters against the lucrative arms trade between Britain and Saudi Arabia have planned to stage meetings outside the Saudi embassy in London later this week.