Saudi FM: Crown Prince to Tackle Important Files, Primarily Iran's Nefarious Activities

Saudi Cinema Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Cinema Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman

The vote, which was being forced to the floor by a bipartisan group of senators including liberal Bernie Sanders, could cause diplomatic embarrassment on the day President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is launching a three-week United States tour.

Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they're going to give the United States some of that wealth, hopefully, in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world.

Trump thanked the kingdom for its standing investments in the US, which a senior administration official tallied at approximately $12.3 billion in foreign direct investment as of 2016.

Trump and the Crown Prince among other things will discuss countering extremism, Russia's role in supporting the Assad regime's atrocities in Syria, the official said. "There's nobody that even comes close to us in terms of technology and the quality of the equipment, and Saudi Arabia appreciates that".

For the USA, it's a dramatic turn from the Obama administration, which was cool to Saudi Arabia's autocratic rulers over a human rights record that remains abysmal, according to advocacy groups such as Amnesty International.

"We'll see what happens", Trump said.

Consequently, the focus of escalating tensions and of the Saudi crown prince's visit to Washington appears to be on assigning blame to the opposing side for the ongoing crises in the region.

Not so with Trump, who has taken a hardline view against Iran similar to that of the Saudi crown prince who has compared Iran's supreme leader to Adolf Hitler.

Early signs of a policy shift as it relates to Iran may become evident in the next few days as American leaders meet with the crown prince of Iran's chief Middle Eastern adversary, Saudi Arabia.

Two days of talks will focus on upcoming Trump-Kim summit
But no specific time or venue has been set and North Korea has yet to confirm it even made the offer to meet. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Friday met with U.S.

In the same interview with CBS on Sunday, the Saudi Crown Prince also said that "Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia", and went on to boast about Saudi Arabia's economic superiority over Iran.

Since 2015 under president Barack Obama, the Pentagon has provided "non-combat support" to Saudi Arabia, including intelligence sharing and air-to-air refueling for its war planes. 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. French-Saudi relations are more strained than in recent years.

Still, US opinion of the oil-rich country has improved, in part due to Trump's public stance on Saudi Arabia.

In addition to meeting with President Trump on Tuesday, MBS will also meet with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Mike Pompeo, selected by Trump as the next Secretary of State.

"A lot of (the issues) we have in Yemen is more perception than reality", he said, adding: "The reality is that we didn't start this war, we didn't want this war - it was imposed upon us".

Trump has personally signaled substantial interest in expanding relations with the Saudis, having arranged a more than 100 billion dollar weapons sale a year ago, as well as setting the stage in recent weeks for the sale of American nuclear energy technology to the Sunni kingdom.

But since his rise to power previous year, Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, has been a controversial figure.

Although the US 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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