Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gets unprecedented reception in Riyadh

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Riyadh, Feb 27(ANI): Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was given an unprecedented reception in Riyadh, as he kickstarted his three-day state visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Making a clear departure from the usual protocol the entire Saudi Arabian Cabinet received the Indian Prime Minister at King Khalid International Royal Terminal.

Dr. Singh was personally received by Crown Prince Sultan Abdul Aziz, who is the brother of King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and also holds the portfolio of Defence and Civil Aviation Minister.

Interior Minister Naif bin Abdul Aziz and Governor of Riyadh Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Mohammad bin Ayaaf were also present.

However, Prime Minister's formal welcome ceremony will be done on Sunday by King Abdullah.

Indian and Saudi Arabian flags have been placed together in a 40-kilometer stretch for the past week.

During his stay Prime Minister will also be called upon by Saudi Oil Minister and Mineral Resources Ali Al Naimi, Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal and Commerce and Industry Minister Abdullah Zainel Alireza.

Prime Minister is accompanied by a high power official delegation which includes Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Petroleum and Natural gas Minister Murli Deora, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor.

PM will also be meeting with the council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry and address Majlis Al Shura on powerful and influential council of intellectuals.

He will be hosted by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and the entire official delegation will be staying in King Saud Guest Palace, which is a rare gesture given to likes of Turkish, French and US head of states. By Naveen Kapoor(ANI)

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