segunda-feira, 30 de janeiro de 2017

Prince Charles happy to meet Trump to discuss interfaith issues

Prince Charles happy to meet Trump to discuss interfaith issues
Royal sources say Charles’s connections with Islamic world might help his views to carry weight with the US president

Robert Booth
Monday 30 January 2017 15.02 GMT

Prince Charles would welcome a meeting with Donald Trump to discuss interfaith relations, sources close to him have said, amid a growing outcry at the US ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.

A royal source said Charles remained willing to meet Trump if the state visit went ahead, saying: “It is not his style to turn his back.”

Charles’s record as an advocate for interfaith relations and his high-level connections in the Islamic world, including close relations with Saudi and Gulf state royals, were cited by royal sources as reasons why his views might carry weight with Trump.

More than 1.25 million people have signed a petition asking Downing Street to withdraw the US president’s invitation to a state visit to Britain.

The prince is said to have become increasingly concerned about religious intolerance, and last week told a private reception at Lambeth Palace that he was dismayed that a report on religious persecution around the world had gone under-reported.

His supporters say he is in a position to speak frankly to world leaders without worrying about short-term politics.

“The prince has gone into the Middle East over recent years at the government’s request and has been the honest and neutral broker,” one source said. “He has listened, reported back and convened. If that is required now with President Trump, the only people who can decide is the government.”

They added: “For this country, it would be helpful for him [Trump] to sit down with the Prince of Wales.”

Despite the international outcry at Trump’s travel ban, the prince is likely to approach any meeting with Trump as an opportunity rather than a problem, allies said.

Charles has repeatedly highlighted the plight of persecuted Christians in Syria, an issue that Trump has also raised, and this may provide a bridge between the two men.

Charles told Radio 4’s Thought for the Day last month: “We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith.”

Clarence House believes the topics of interfaith dialogue and religious persecution are as likely to come up at any meeting between Trump and Charles as climate change, another faultline between US and US policy.

Charles reportedly hopes to hear what Trump has to say on climate change and build a relationship with the US president on that issue.

Clarence House was keen to stress that it remained “very relaxed” about whether the planned state visit includes a meeting with Trump. There were reports that Trump’s team were concerned Charles would lecture Trump, although Clarence House made clear he had no such intention.

Buckingham Palace will be tasked with helping to organise the visit with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As tens of thousands of people prepared to attend demonstrations around the UK on Monday evening calling for the invitation to be rescinded, there appeared to be little progress on settling on dates for the visit or the programme, including whether it would take place at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

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