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Prince Charles praised for raising plight of Saudi blogger

Prince Charles has been praised by Amnesty International for raising the plight of a jailed Saudi blogger with the country's new king.

The Prince of Wales attends a bilateral meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales had faced calls from Amnesty International UK to use his influence with the Saudi royal family and intervene on behalf of Raif Badawi during his royal visit. And his decision to broach the subject yesterday during his first official meeting with King Salman was praised by the organisation.

This is of course very encouraging and very welcome news.

We always said we weren't expecting Prince Charles to give up the red carpets and state banquets and become a human rights campaigner, but we also hoped he'd use his unique position to pass on a few well-chosen words to his royal hosts about human rights in Saudi Arabia.

– Kate Allen, Amnesty director

Charles is coming to the end of a six-day tour of the Middle East that has already taken him to Jordan and Kuwait. Tomorrow he will visit Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Later today he will spend his final day in Saudi Arabia visiting the area in and around the ancient settlement of Al Ula, in the north west of the country, which is famed for its historic monuments.

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Prince Charles 'not going to make any difference' in Saudi blogger case

Historian Robert Lacey has told ITV News he does not think Prince Charles can make a difference to Saudi Arabia's treatment of the blogger Raif Badawi.

Lacey, who has spent time living in Saudi Arabia, said: "For a Christian defender of the faith to come along and ask the Muslim defender of the Holy places to change something that's pretty fundamental to Islamic law just isn't going to happen".

Charles holds talks with Saudi king on 'significant' visit

Prince Charles and the new king of Saudi Arabia have held informal talks today in a visit that some have argued could have a "significant" impact on UK-Saudi relations.

The Prince of Wales with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (right) today. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales and King Salman spoke privately via an interpreter before a lavish meal in Riyadh - though it is not known whether Charles heeded calls to raise the plight of jailed blogger Raif Bawadi.

Amnesty International UK urged the future king to use his influence and intervene on behalf of Badawi - who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes after setting up a website for Saudi liberals and being accused of insulting Islam.

Charles knows the Saudi monarchy well and was among a number of world leaders who traveled to the country to pay respects after the death of Salman's predecessor King Abdullah.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Simon Collis, Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the conversations between the pair could be significant, though he could not say "whether or not" Charles would raise the plight of Mr Badawi.

Amnesty urges Prince Charles to raise flogging issue with Saudi King

Amnesty International has urged Prince Charles to raise the issue of the blogger Raif Badawi, who has been sentenced to flogging, when he meets members of the Saudi royal family today.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said "how can you be in that country, meeting the leaders of it, and not use the opportunities that there are?"

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Charles Saudi visit could have 'significant impact'

The Prince of Wales is visiting Saudi Arabia as part of a Middle East tour. Credit: PA

The Prince of Wales' visit to Saudi Arabia could have a significant impact on Britain's relationship with the oil-rich Gulf kingdom - a "key strategic partner" in the coalition against Islamic State, the UK's ambassador has said.

Simon Collis, Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said:

Royal to royal links have a particular value ... these kinds of visits are capable of having significant impact. Any conversation that does happen is not just going to be an exchange of platitudes because they are past that.

– Simon Collis

Charles arrived in the capital Riyadh this morning and has faced calls to raise concerns about the fate of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi with the country's new King Salman.

Collis said he could not say "whether or not" the heir to the throne would raise the plight of Mr Badawi.

Prince Charles to visit Kuwait in tour of Middle East

Prince Charles embarks on the second leg of his tour of the Middle East later when he travels to Kuwait.

Yessterday Jordan's King Abdullah II received the Prince at the Royal Palace, Jordan. Credit: PA

The Prince of Wales will be welcomed by Britain's ambassador to the Gulf state Matthew Lodge, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf and Prime Minister Sheikh Jabber. The heir to the throne will travel to the Bayan palace for a meeting with Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Sabah.

Prince of Wales condemns 'barbarity' of extremists

Prince Charles has condemned the "barbarity" of religious extremists as he travelled to meet the King of Jordan.

He was speaking as the country continues to mourn the loss of a pilot apparently burnt to death by the militant group Islamic State.

Prince Charles also issued a warning to Britain over the way young people are being radicalised by religious extremists.

ITV's Middle East Correspondent Geraint Vincent is in Jordan.

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