Heir to Saudi Throne Comes to California

Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, has arrived in California and has booked an entire hotel in Silicon Valley. The Four Seasons luxury hotel in East Palo Alto was cleared on Monday of all guests due to security concerns. Currently, the prince and his entourage have purchased all 200 rooms at the Four Seasons. The hotel will accept reservations again after the prince leaves on Saturday.

The 32-year-old prince is currently on a three-week tour of the United States to strengthen Saudi-American relations. On March 20, he met with President Trump at the White House. During his trip to Washington D.C., Mohammed bin Salman also met with members of Congress and had dinner with the president's son-in-law Jared Jushner.

The Saudi prince then flew to New York City where he took over the Plaza Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. While in New York, he met with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and former president Bill Clinton. He also reportedly took meetings with Rupert Murdoch and went out for coffee with former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

During his stay in California, Mohammed bin Salman is scheduled to meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook as well as SpaceX mogul Elon Musk. The Saudi prince's itinerary also includes a face-to-face with Bill Gates, a planned tête-à-tête with Oprah and dinner with Imagine co-founder Brian Grazer.

Mohammed bin Salman has attracted international interest since his elevation to crown prince in June 2017. The oldest son of King Salman and his third wife Fahda, the prince replaced his cousin Muhammad bin Nayef as the king's heir apparent. He has instituted many reforms in Saudi Arabia, including allowing Saudi women to drive, curtailing the powers of the Saudi religious police and arresting prominent Saudis for corruption. His famous Saudi Vision 2030 plan has pledged to open up Saudi society and encourage tourism within the country.

However, despite the prince's promises to modernize Saudi society, human rights organizations like Amnesty International have criticized him for recent crackdowns on activists from the human rights NGO Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association. He has also been criticized for his support of Saudi intervention in the Yemeni Civil War.



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