1 March 2017

Crowds greet Saudi king on rare visit to Indonesia

Saudi King Salman, left, listens to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during the MOU signing ceremony in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Salman arrived in Malaysia on Sunday to kick off a multi-nation tour aimed at boosting economic ties with Asia.
The first Saudi monarch to visit Indonesia in nearly half a century arrived Wednesday to an elaborate official welcome and crowds of thousands.

King Salman exited his plane at Halim airport in Jakarta using an escalator, with a portable lift carrying him the final meter or so to the ground.


He was met by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and the minority Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who is fighting a tough election battle after being charged with blaspheming the Quran.

The king was whisked off in a heavily secured convoy to a presidential palace in Bogor, outside of Jakarta, where tens of thousands of people lined the route.

Local media reported that statues of naked men and women at the palace would be covered out of courtesy to the Saudi visitors. The same step was taken when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Indonesia in January.

Salman is on a tour of Asian countries to drum up business and improve ties. On his first stop in Malaysia, oil giant Saudi Aramco signed a $7 billion deal to take a 50 percent stake in a Malaysian oil refinery.
Saudi King Salman, right, walks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Salman arrived in the world's largest Muslim nation on Wednesday as part of a multi-nation tour aimed at boosting economic ties with Asia.

The government of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has said Salman's entourage and related delegations number about 1,500 people. He will spend six of his nine days in Indonesia vacationing on the resort island of Bali, a predominantly Hindu part of the Indonesian archipelago.

Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are expected to sign 10 agreements during Salman's visit in areas from religion to education and science. Indonesia has said it hopes the visit will result in $25 billion of new investment.

(AP)
Saudi King Salman, center, adjusts his headscarf as he steps down the stairs of his plane upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Salman arrived in the world's largest Muslim nation on Wednesday as a part of a multi-nation tour aimed at boosting economic ties with Asia.
Saudi King Salman, center, adjusts his headscarf as he steps down the stairs of his plane upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Salman arrived in the world's largest Muslim nation on Wednesday as a part of a multi-nation tour aimed at boosting economic ties with Asia.
Saudi King Salman, center right, walks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center left, upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Salman arrived in the world's largest Muslim nation on Wednesday as part of a multi-nation tour aimed at boosting economic ties with Asia.
Saudi King Salman, center right, walks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center left, upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Salman arrived in the world's largest Muslim nation on Wednesday as part of a multi-nation tour aimed at boosting economic ties with Asia. 

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