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Widespread criticism meets Saudi crown prince in Algeria

MbS landed in Algiers on Sunday [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2018

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A group of Algerian intellectuals, journalists and Muslim scholars denounced the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Algeria on Sunday.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in the Algerian capital on Sunday night as part of a tour overshadowed by the brutal murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The powerful prince and his large delegation were seen being greeted on a red carpet at Algiers airport by Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and members of his government.

The aim of the trip was to give "new impetus to biliteral cooperation (and) the realisation of partnerships and investment projects", the Algerian presidency said ahead of the visit.

Prince Mohammed, known better as MbS, set off last week on his first foreign tour since the grisly murder of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate on 2 October.

The Saudi crown prince's visit to Algeria has drawn criticism from political and academic circles in the North African country.

It was jointly denounced by 17 intellectuals, journalists, Muslim scholars and other figures in Algeria in a statement obtained by AFP.

In the statement, they said the "whole world is certain that he ordered a terrible crime against the journalist Jamal Khashoggi".

Political parties also expressed opposition to the visit, among them the Movement for the Society of Peace (MSP) opposition party.

It said MbS was "responsible for the death of a large number of children and civilians in Yemen" as well as that of Khashoggi.

Louisa Hanoune, head of the opposition Workers' Party (PT), described his visit as a "provocation".

Abderrazak Makri, head of the Islamist Movement of Society for Peace, told reporters the crown prince's visit "does not serve Algeria's image nor its reputation". 

Among the signatories were writer and journalist Kamel Daoud and prominent novelist Rachid Boudjedra.

Earlier in the day, MbS made a brief visit to Mauritania where he signed a series of agreements with President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Khashoggi's killing has put mounting pressure on Riyadh and MbS, who Turkish officials - and reportedly the CIA - have concluded was behind the critic's death.

Saudi authorities have vehemently denied the crown prince was involved in the murder, although Riyadh has admitted he was killed at the Istanbul consulate. 

MbS has in recent days travelled to the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Tunisia, before heading to Buenos Aires on Wednesday for the G20 summit.

His visit to Tunis was greeted by demonstrations against Khashoggi's murder and the war in Yemen.

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