Crowds greet Saudi King Salman on rare visit to Indonesia

Descending regally from his private plane in a customised gold-coloured escalator, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud began the first visit in nearly 50 years of a Saudi leader to the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, on Wednesday.

The Saudi king brought more than 500 tons of equipment, along with about 1,500 people - including princes and ministers - for his Asia tour.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud kick-started his first official royal tour of Asia on Sunday when he arrived in Malaysia.

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.

"This is an extremely historic visit for us", Indonesian cabinet secretary Pramono Anung said before the visit.

Indonesian airfreight company PT Jasa Angkasa Semesta (JAS) has been selected to handle transportation of the king's goods for his visit.

President Joko Widodo alias Jokowi has created a video blog or vlog post showing him having lunch with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia yesterday.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Indonesian President Joko Widodo walk under umbrellas in heavy rain upon arrival at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia March 1, 2017.

Business deals could be announced, and a series of cooperation memoranda are also set to be signed on issues ranging from security, to health and education during the three-day visit to Jakarta.

Indonesia will also seek approval to send more citizens to the annual Haj pilgrimage in western Saudi Arabia.

As part of the elaborate preparations for the visit, 150 chefs have been hired to cook food for the king and his party, according to local media. Salman will also visit Brunei, Japan, China and the Maldives, the official Saudi Press Agency has reported.

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