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Saudi King congratulates Egypt's interim leader

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Credit: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has sent a message of congratulations to the head of the Egyptian Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, for being appointed interim head of state, the Saudi state news agency SPA reports.

"In the name of the people of Saudi Arabia and on my behalf, we congratulate your leadership of Egypt in this critical period of its history. We pray for God to help you bear the responsibility laid upon you to achieve the ambitions of our brotherly people of Egypt," the message said.

FCO condemn 'grotesque' Saudi 'paralysis' sentence

The reported sentencing to paralysis for a Saudi man for a crime he committed as a 14-year-old has been condemned as "grotesque" by the Foreign Office.

According to reports in Saudi Arabia media, 24-year-old Ali al-Khawahir will be paralysed from the waist down unless he pays one million Saudi riyals (£177,000) in compensation to the victim.

An FCO spokesman said: "We urge the Saudi authorities to ensure that this grotesque punishment is not carried out."

"Such practices are prohibited under international law and have no place in any society."

Amnesty International also condemned the punishment as "utterly shocking".

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Saudi Arabia 'may try to end Twitter anonymity'

A woman uses the internet in Saudi Arabia, where media is heavily censored. Credit: Reuters

Saudi Arabia may try to end anonymity for Twitter users in the country by limiting access to the site to people who register their identification documents, the Arab News daily reported.

The country's Grand Mufti, Saudi Arabia's top cleric, last week described users of the microblogging site as "clowns" wasting time with frivolous and even harmful discussions, local newspapers reported.

"A source at (the regulator) described the move as a natural result of the successful implementation of (its) decision to add a user's identification numbers while topping up mobile phone credit," Arab News reported.

That would not necessarily make a user's identity visible to other users of the site, but it would mean the Saudi government could monitor the tweets of individual Saudis.

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Saudi prince's hope for Middle East reform

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has told ITV News that he would like to see further reform across the Middle East:

I’d like all those Arab countries who did not have an instability or revolution to wake up and immediately to reform and change before this tide reaches them

When asked if this included Saudi Arabia the prince replied: “All countries – no country is immune. Everyone who thinks he is immune, as you say in English, ‘he is talking rubbish’”.

Saudi prince: Assad will not flee Syria

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal speaking to ITV News
Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal speaking to ITV News

Speaking to ITV News, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has predicted that Syrian president Bashar Assad will not flee Syria, and that the conflict with drag on for years.

He explained why Western powers are steering clear:

"Who are the insurgents, are they united? Are they extremists? Are they Al Qaeda based? Are they fanatics? Really, we don’t know who they are.

"They have groups there all over the place. That’s why the West, even Saudi Arabia, has not been very aggressive in supporting the insurgents over there."

Read more on ITV News International Correspondent John Irvine's interview here.

Saudi prince: Obama 'not been successful in our region'

In a rare interview, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has told ITV News that he has hopes that President Obama's second term will see him focus more on the Middle East:

Frankly speaking, Obama has not been very successful in our region here. I hope a second term will prove to be different to his first term.

Right now, I think with the economic situation in the States stabilising, Europe stabilising, he can give a lot more attention to the Middle East.

We can only say we can only hope he will give more attention to the Middle East, because it’s needed badly.

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