'Your are beyond the Crown Prince,' Trump praises wealthy Mohammad Bin Salman

Share

President Donald Trump on Tuesday (March 20) praised U.S. defence sales to Saudi Arabia as a boost to American jobs, even as lawmakers criticised Riyadh's role in the war in Yemen where a humanitarian crisis has unfolded.

The hard-charging Crown Prince Salman, heir to the Saudi throne, noted that the USA and Saudi Arabia have been allies for 80 years.

Trump and MBS - as he is known in Washington's corridors of power - have seen eye-to-eye on concerns about Iran's military activism, Middle East peace, relaxing Saudi Arabia's deeply conservative laws and over their love for big ticket mega-investments.

"Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation", Mr Trump said as he produced charts detailing the kingdom's acquisitions.

Saudi Arabia and Iran cut off relations in 2016 after an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. This is because of Saudi Arabia's atrocious human rights record, and in particular the large number of civilians killed by Saudi strikes in Yemen.

The 15, mostly Democratic, co-sponsors are trying for the first time to take advantage of a provision in the 1973 War Powers Act that allows any senator to introduce a resolution on whether to withdraw USA armed forces from a conflict not authorised by Congress. Despite warnings this makes the U.S. complicit in Saudi war crimes, the administration clearly sees it as a straightforward way to keep increasing sales year over year.

During three weeks in the US, the 32-year-old crown prince will also meet with businessmen in NY, tech mavens in San Francisco and entertainment bigwigs in Los Angeles.

Some backers of the measure took to the Senate floor to call the three-year-long conflict in Yemen a "humanitarian catastrophe", which they blamed on the Saudis.

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

Speaking in English, Prince Mohammed pointed out significant Saudi investments in the US. Yemen is the latest such example where US forces provide logistical and intelligence support to a Saudi-led coalition of largely Gulf nations fighting to oust Houthi rebels from what was already the Arab world's poorest nation before the conflict began.

"It is an honor to have the crown prince of Saudi Arabia with us", Trump said as the pair prepared to have lunch in the Cabinet Room. "And I miss your father - a special man". He said a 10-year window for implementing the deal was already underway. King Salman is to visit the United States later this year.

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.

Saudi Arabia on Monday called the Iran nuclear deal a "flawed agreement", and Trump has made clear he plans to exit the agreement unless changes are made to it.

"Well, we're going to see what happens".

Media outlets have recently reported that bin Salman intends to visit Iraq, including Baghdad and Najaf to participate in the opening of the Saudi consulate and boost relations between the two countries.

Share