Saudi Crown Prince launches diplomatic tour with $10 billion Egypt city project

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful and controversial reformist in line to lead Saudi Arabia, embarked on his first official diplomatic tour this week, opening with a visit to Cairo where he announced a statement infrastructure project.

The Crown Prince arrived in Cairo on March 4 and announced a joint project with the Egyptian government, pledging a $10 billion joint investment to create a new city in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

The project is the latest in a series of large infrastructure investments planned by the Saudi government, including the building of several new cities within the kingdom, according to Al Arabiya.

Bin Salman became heir apparent to his father King Salman in June 2017. He consolidated control of Saudi politics in November 2017 by arresting hundreds of prominent business and political figures, including members of the royal family on corruption charges.

The Crown Prince has overseen several eye-catching reforms, such as granting women the right to drive and join the armed forces. Human rights groups however remain critical (Human Rights Watch) of a lack of basic democratic freedoms in Saudi Arabia.

Bin Salman arrives in London on March 7 to meet Theresa May, before visiting the U.S. from March 19 to 22. Campaign groups including the Stop the War Coalition are planning a demonstration for his arrival in the UK, to express anger toward Saudi Arabia’s aerial bombardment of parts of Yemen, and the kingdom’s ongoing blockade of Qatar.

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