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    Mohammad bin Salman US visit: Leaked itinerary shows Saudi crown prince to meet Oprah, politicians and media bosses

    Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince is currently on a two-week-long coast to coast tour of the US – and a leaked copy of his itinerary has shed light on the full extent of the heir to the throne’s American charm offensive. 
    America’s great and good from the worlds of politics, business, oil, entertainment and tech are queueing up to meet the immensely powerful 32-year-old Mohammad bin Salman, or MBS as he is known, according to a 36-page document seen by The Independent
    But the prince’s trip appears to be aimed at forging a relationship with the American public too, as an upcoming meeting with media mogul Oprah Winfrey in Los Angeles suggests.
    Saudi Arabia has always had a public image problem in the West because of the obvious things like women’s rights and beheadings,” said Nader Hashemi, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.
    “When you meet with Oprah, even if you’re not going to be interviewed, you’re seeking the approval of an opinion maker. You’re going into people’s homes and reaching deep into American culture.”
    Global public relations firm Qorvis employed by the Saudi royal family, the Saudi embassy in Washington DC and a representative for Ms Winfrey did not comment on the document’s veracity. 
    The prince sat down with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell on 60 Minutes last week, the first US televised interview with a Saudi leader in more than a decade. 
    He used the opportunity to cement his reputation as a bold, young reformer bringing sorely needed economic and social change to his kingdom, such as curbing the power of the notorious religious police and allowing women to drive. 
    “Saudi Arabia believes in many of the principles of human rights. In fact, we believe in the notion of human rights, but ultimately Saudi standards are not the same as American standards,” he said.
    “I don’t want to say that we don’t have shortcomings. We certainly do. But naturally, we are working to mend these shortcomings.”
    After meeting with US President Donald Trump and his administration on his arrival in Washington DC on 19 March, MBS’s exhausting schedule took him to Boston. He is currently in New York and will travel on to Houston, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. 
    His itinerary is packed with America’s best, brightest and most influential. 
    On Tuesday alone in New York City, the prince is believed to have met with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, ex-president Bill and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, New York state senator Chuck Schumer, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and businessman and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

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