Saudi Arabia great friend of US', Trump tells Salman

26 March, 2018, 01:04 | Author: Julio Duncan
  • Credit Flickr  MANILA BULLETIN

Top Photo | President Donald Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington.

Trump and the crown prince underscored the strength of US-Saudi ties which suffered under the Obama administration.

Salman told the United Arab Emirates crown prince about the meeting with Kushner, bragging that he had Kushner "in his pocket", The Intercept reported, citing "a source who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers".

The visit comes as the United States and much of the West are still trying to figure out Crown Prince Mohammed, better known by his initials MBS, whose sweeping program of social changes at home and increased Saudi assertiveness overseas has upended decades of traditional rule in Saudi Arabia. The United States embrace that with open arms as military equipment sale to Saudi Arabia will create 40,000 American jobs.

As I said before, when it comes to the missiles and the planes and all of the military equipment, there's nobody that even comes close to us in terms of technology and the quality of the equipment.

He is on a public relations blitz while travelling in the United States, with stops in New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.

Images of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen prompted Trump past year to issue a rare rebuke of Saudi policy, urging the kingdom to lift a blockade on the civil war-wracked country "immediately". Some members of Congress have been critical of the Saudi campaign, particularly the humanitarian situation and civilian casualties. The Senate rejected the resolution.

The Saudis are working aggressively to change perceptions. "They're certainly communicating with elite circles to discuss the measures they're taking to try to get humanitarian assistance in to Yemen".

Crown Prince Mohammed spearheaded the invasion of Yemen shortly after being named minister of Defense in 2015. Prince Mohammed has consolidated power and is likely to rule for many decades if he succeeds his father.

He added, "I thought your father made a very wise decision".

MBS' trip to the United States is also a pseudo-goodwill tour, with the Saudi leader looking to sell the country's education, business and political leaders on his vision for a country that he hopes to modernize in the coming years.

The Crown Prince has, however, won Western plaudits for seeking to ease Saudi Arabia's reliance on oil, tackle chronic corruption and reform the conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom.

The crown prince, in a rare foray into speaking English, said on Tuesday the Saudi pledge for $200 billion in investments would end up at $400 billion when fully implemented.

In addition to meeting with the President, the Saudi leader has meetings with congressional leadership, education leaders in Boston and business leaders in NY. The two are similar in age - Kushner is 37, while MBS is 32 - and the Trump aide sees the prince as a key ally in curbing Iran. "Iran has not been treating that part of the world, or the world itself, appropriately".

"We're going to see what happens", Trump said.



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