February 27, 2018 / 12:50 PM / 25 days ago

Saudi Crown Prince to visit Britain on March 7 - May's spokesman

LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will begin a visit to Britain on March 7 which will include talks with Prime Minister Theresa May on topics such as extremism and societal reform, May’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gestures during the graduation ceremony of the 93rd batch of the cadets of King Faisal Air Academy, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 21, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

“The visit will usher in a new era in bilateral relations focused on a partnership that delivers wide-ranging benefits for both the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the spokesman said.

“The visit will also provide an opportunity to enhance our co-operation in tackling international challenges such as terrorism, extremism, the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen and other regional issues such as Iraq and Syria.”

May discussed the visit with her cabinet earlier on Tuesday, including the much anticipated stock market listing of state oil company Saudi Aramco - potentially the biggest listing in history and the subject of a high profile tug of war between Britain and the United States.

“The fact that there is a potential listing of Saudi Aramco was discussed, but in no more terms than that,” the spokesman said.

In a separate statement issued after the meeting with her cabinet, May said the crown prince’s visit - his first since his appointment in June 2017 - would allow Britain to talk “frankly and constructively” about areas of concern like Yemen and security in the Middle East.

Reporting by William James; Editing by Stephen Addison

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