Saudi Crown Prince Meets Heads of Major Companies in Washington

Saudi Crown Prince Meets Heads of Major Companies in Washington”

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.

Senior U.S. officials say Trump wants to settle the dispute, although Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has called the issue a "very small matter".

Qassemi reportedly said bin Salman proved to be "an amateurish and mistaken liar" for his comments and stated his belief that his words show he is not familiar with Saudi Arabia's history and culture. A lot of bad things are happening in Iran.

The US president also reiterated his opposition to Iran's nuclear deal reached under former president Barack Obama.

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"We are the oldest ally of America from the Middle East", MBS said, "with more than 80 years of alliance and big interests - politically, economically, security".

The crown prince could dangle a huge carrot in front of Trump for his support.

Prince Mohammed capped his rapid rise to power last June by replacing his elder cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who had close relationships with US intelligence and defense circles, as crown prince.

Asked whether he was prepared to pull the United States out of the deal, Trump said "we're going to see what happens". "Iran hasn't been treating that part of the world, or the world, appropriately". He'll hold separate meetings with a long roster of influential United States officials, including the secretaries of defense, treasury and commerce, the Central Intelligence Agency chief and congressional leaders from both parties.

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He unveiled his ambitious plan "Vision 2030" a year ago which aims to wean Saudi Arabia off its dependence on oil and modernise its economy by building up diverse industries, including tourism.

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 two leaders had already agreed on a plan for about USD200 billion worth of investments from the Saudi side into U.S., which includes large puchases of military equipment from US. "There's nobody that even comes close to us in terms of technology and the quality of the equipment, and Saudi Arabia appreciates that".

Prince Mohammed dodged a shouted question on the Iran deal, but waxed optimistic about prospects for closer economic ties amid "new waves of opportunities in different areas".

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Although the United States has welcomed MBS's determination to purge pervasive corruption in Saudi Arabia, including by royals, the Trump administration hasn't endorsed his tactics.

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