Biden, world leaders to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

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U.S President Joe Biden and some 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday in a gathering of world leaders not seen for decades.

Mr. Biden as well as the prime ministers of Canada, Justin Trudeau; Australia, Anthony Albanese and New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern are already in the UK ahead of the funeral.

Other Commonwealth leaders expected to attend include Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

India will be represented by President Droupadi Murmu.

French President Emmanuel Macron, Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Italian President Sergio Mattarella are among the other world leaders expected to attend.

Members of royal families from across Europe will also be present.

Lying-in-state

Many of the guests are expected to pay their respects to the Queen at her lying-in-state in Westminster Hall and sign a book of condolence at Lancaster House.

But the focus will be a formal state reception hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace on Sunday.

For many leaders, it will be their only chance to meet collectively and engage in some diplomacy.

Controversial invitations

Controversy surrounds some of the guests invited to attend the funeral.

The extension of an invite to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed Bin Salman (known as MBS) has proved controversial.

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He is accused of ordering the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in 2018 – an accusation the Crown Prince and his government deny.

Another invite that has led to criticism is that of China’s President Xi Jinping, due to accusations of crimes against humanity leveled at the Chinese government.

But it will not be President Xi attending the funeral. Instead, Vice President Wang Qishan will travel to the UK.

Representatives from Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela, and Afghanistan have not been invited.

Iran, North Korea (DPRK), and Nicaragua have only been invited to send ambassadors, rather than heads of state.

 

Zainab Sa’id

Source BBC
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