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Trump tells Saudi prince he will work on arms deal

Trump tells Saudi prince he will work on arms deal

US President Donald Trump rolled out the red carpet for visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman this week, highlighting a potential deepening of the relationship between the two countries based on massive Saudi investment in the US and large purchases of US military equipment, as well as a common approach on how to deal with the kingdom's regional rival Iran.

Coming mid-way through the Crown Prince's two week tour of the United States, the vote could deliver an "embarrassing rebuke" to the 32-year old heir to the throne as he meets President Donald Trump and other USA leaders, says Time.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in the United States this week to further cement one of the world's most resilient alliances. Saudi Arabia, a decades-long USA ally, felt neglected by President Barack Obama's pursuit of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Riyadh's regional rival.

While in Washington, the crown prince is holding separate meetings with a long roster of influential US officials, including the secretaries of defense, treasury and commerce, the Central Intelligence Agency director and congressional leaders from both parties. Enter Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans, another anointed son looking to make a name for himself after his father gave him considerable power.

"We believe that Saudi Arabia is part of the solution", Mattis said.

Since Trump took office past year and visited Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip, Riyadh and Washington have strengthened ties and sought to work together on mutual goals involving Iran, such as curbing its rising influence in the Mideast. King Salman is scheduled to visit the United States later this year.

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Trump was non-committal on the future of the Iranian nuclear deal. The Saudis and their allies are fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels, but global organisations have harshly criticized the coalition's airstrikes and blockading of Yemeni ports for contributing to thousands of civilian deaths and a humanitarian catastrophe. Saudi Arabia signed billions of dollars of deals with USA arms manufacturers and energy companies, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, Honeywell, McDermott International, Jacobs Engineering Group, Rowan Companies, National Oilwell Varco, Nabors Industries, Weatherford International, Schlumberger, and Dow Chemical.

As they talked, USA senators debated a resolution seeking an end to US support for Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen's civil war, in which about 10,000 people have been killed.

The Saudis are working aggressively to change perceptions. They've cast themselves as essential partners against extremist groups and, especially since Trump's maiden overseas voyage past year, touted their lavish purchases of high-tech goods from job-creating American companies. He's showing reporters a sign that lists Saudi purchases and another of pending sales of military equipment to the kingdom.

Yet, Democrats and Republicans have approached some of the crown prince's other bold steps with trepidation, particularly as they pertain to his anti-Iran efforts. Stock exchanges in NY and elsewhere are vying for the worldwide listing of Aramco, the Saudi oil behemoth expected to go public soon.

In May previous year, US President Donald Trump, in his first visit overseas, travelled to Saudi Arabia where Riyadh organised a Muslim states Summit attended by over fifty heads of States.

A Gulf dispute pitting some Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar will also likely be brought up at the Trump meeting.


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