April 23, 2018

Trump praises MBS over ties, arms sales

26 March 2018, 01:07 | Clyde Nash

Mizan performing at a private event last year. Credit Tasneem Alsultan for The New York Times

Mizan performing at a private event last year. Credit Tasneem Alsultan for The New York Times

In response, the Saudi crown prince said: "We believe the same".

The crown prince, in a rare foray into speaking English, said on Tuesday 20 March, 2018, that the Saudi pledge for $200 billion in investments would end up at $400 billion when fully implemented. The leaders discussed Iran, the Israeli-Palestinin peace process, the role of the U.S. in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and USA arms supplies over a working lunch in the Oval Office.

CROWN PRINCE BIN SALMAN: Thank you, Mr. President.

Trump's support in May of an economic blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and the UAE over the objections of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has raised questions about a possible conflict of interest for Kushner.

Asked whether he was prepared to pull the United States out of the deal, Trump said "we're going to see what happens".

"But Iran has not been treating that part of the world or the world itself appropriately". President Barack Obama also angered the Saudis by negotiating a nuclear agreement with their regional rival, Iran.

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The son of King Salman and heir to the throne will also hold separate meetings with a long roster of influential USA officials, including the secretaries of defense, treasury and commerce, the Central Intelligence Agency chief and congressional leaders from both parties.

Prior to his visit, Crown Prince Mohammed told "60 Minutes" Saudi Arabia would immediately seek to obtain a nuclear weapon if Iran developed one. The United States, adds fuel to the fire so that the crisis remains in Yemen and rift becomes wider between Riyadh and Teheran. The prince has tried to make steps towards this vision of the last few years, including by allowing women to drive last year. The two countries finalised $110 billion defence deals. Critics saw it as part of an authoritarian power grab that disregarded civil law.

MBS, in particular, has been closely identified with the three-year-old war in the Arab world's poorest country, which started while he was defense minister. The Saudis and their allies are fighting Houthi rebels, but worldwide organizations have harshly criticized the coalition's airstrikes and blockading of Yemeni ports for contributing to thousands of civilian deaths and a humanitarian catastrophe. That relationship grew months later when Trump made his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, where the President was greeted with opulent pomp-and-circumstance for a series of meetings with Muslim leaders, including King Salman. The Trump administration is keen to sign multi-billion dollar deals for USA firms.

A senior Trump administration official said the two leaders talked about the humanitarian situation in Yemen and that civilian casualties "did not come up in a major way", given that Washington had been working with the Saudis to minimize them.

He hailed the military sales as a boost to American jobs. He's showing reporters a sign that lists Saudi purchases and another of pending sales of military equipment to the kingdom.

In a remarkable development, US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman have discussed defence deals, security cooperation and investment in US, while a group of senators attempted to force a vote on a bill to curb American support to Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News.

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