Saudi crown prince to meet defense, entertainment executives in Los Angeles

Clay Curtis
March 20, 2018

Washington-Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is set to meet with United States (US) President Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday.

Reassuring the business community and strengthening economic ties is a key goal of the Saudi royal's almost three-week USA tour.

TRT World's Tetiana Anderson reports from Washington DC.

Now ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had become so angered by Kusher's calls to Saudi Arabia that he once reportedly exclaimed to his staff; 'Who is Secretary of State here?' The debate could cast a cloud over Prince Mohammed's Washington visit.

"We're looking at ways in which we can push back against Iran's nefarious activities in the region", he added, lambasting Tehran's support for the Houthi militia in Yemen and support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.

The Senate could vote as soon as Tuesday on a bipartisan resolution that seeks to cut off US military support for Saudi Arabia's military campaign in Yemen, which is aimed at fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.

Bin Salman's visit is the first by a Gulf leader in a series of bilateral meetings the USA president is scheduled to have over the next couple of months.

The Saudis may have thought they would be facing less pressure to end the blockade, after the departure of Qatar's main US proponent, the tweet-fired former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Trump will emphasize the importance of a strong and unified Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members include both Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They will also discuss bilateral issues, including Saudi investment in America's infrastructure and defence trade, the senior administration official said on condition of anonymity. But the Defense Department remains committed to the Saudi effort.

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The high-profile tour and meetings with top officials across government signals a relationship between two nations that's nearly unrivaled since Trump took office in January 2017. Even South Korea, which has been at the center of Trump's biggest foreign policy crisis - North Korea's nuclear missile development - hasn't been spared from criticism of its trade deal with the US.

"What we did in Saudi Arabia was extremely necessary and legal", he said.

The senior official's tough words about Russia came a few days after the Trump administration slapped new sanctions on two dozen Russian entities and individuals who were involved in meddling in the 2016 USA election and what other senior officials described as an "ongoing" cyber attack on America's energy sector.

The president should also ask that the Saudi crown prince lift the blockade of his smaller neighbor Qatar because this move has split the GCC and diverted the Security Pact's attention from adopting a unified approach to confronting the threat posed by the Iranian regime.

That would follow a decision last week by Goldman Sachs Group, an erstwhile adviser to companies and governments in the Middle East, to deploy its own money in Saudi Arabia for the first time. They have also jailed women for not covering themselves in public. He is expected to make stops in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston.

In New York, he'll host a forum for business executives and meet United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

At the same time, Bin Salman is likely to face questions over the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has created a humanitarian catastrophe in the country. The vote will be held, if Cornyn's prediction holds, while the Saudi leader is on American soil during a multi-city visit. The country's embassy in Washington said the crown prince's extensive trip will lay groundwork for another visit later this year, by his father, King Salman.

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