Archbishop: Saudi leader wants different faiths to flourish

Protesters in Whitehall, London, demonstrate against the official visit by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Wednesday March 7, 2018. Mohammed bin Salman received a royal welcome and high level political meetings, while being criticized by protesters against the war in Yemen, as he began a three-day visit to Britain on Wednesday. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)
British police officers secure the area outside Downing Street in London, as protesters demonstrate against the visit by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Wednesday March 7, 2018. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a royal welcome with high level political talks to begin his three day visit to Britain, although protesters criticised the visit. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

LONDON — The leader of the Anglican church says Saudi Arabia's crown prince is committed to the flourishing of different faiths in his strict Sunni Muslim kingdom.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Thursday in London.

The archbishop's Lambeth Palace office said "the crown prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond."

It said Welby expressed concern about the limits placed on Christian worship in Saudi Arabia, and expressed "distress" at suffering in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is battling Iran-backed rebels.

The 32-year-old crown prince has shaken up his deeply conservative country, pushing through dramatic social reforms, including allowing women to drive.

Critics say the reforms mask continuing rights abuses.

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