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UAE president to begin visit under cloud of controversy

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al Nahyan welcomes the Queen on a visit to Abu Dhabi in November 2010
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan welcomes the Queen on a visit to Abu Dhabi in November 2010 Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will formally greet the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as he begins a two-day state visit today.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's visit comes at a fragile diplomatic moment after three British men, who allege they were tortured by police, were sentenced by a court in Dubai on Monday.

Read: British men sentenced to four years in jail in Dubai

The president will join the royal couple for a state carriage procession to Windsor Castle before reviewing a Guard of Honour with the Duke. The Queen will also host a lunch in his honour.

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Amnesty International concerned by arms sales to Gulf countries

The human rights charity Amnesty International has raised concerns about the sale of British weapons to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia:

Selling arms to countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE should only be considered if there are absolutely watertight guarantees over them not being used to commit human rights violations.

Saudi Arabia has been the recipient of record-breaking arms deals involving the UK, yet these have been highly secretive and there’s been little or no follow-up over how the weaponry was used ...

In the past a large Saudi chequebook has apparently meant it could purchase weapons as well as silence over its own dreadful human rights record.

It’s time for David Cameron to end this deeply disturbing trade-off.

– Allan Hogarth, Head of Policy and Government Affairs, Amnesty International UK

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