Trump, Saudi crown prince discuss regional conflicts, royal visit



WASHINGTON, Frank Fuhrig (dpa)- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US President Donald Trump discussed the conflicts in Syria and Yemen and peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians during a Tuesday meeting in Washington, the White House said.
The talks, which included a working luncheon, were "an opportunity to make progress on a range of issues," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.



The two leaders discussed issues within the Gulf Cooperation Council, she said.
The meeting was held in part to lay the groundwork for a US visit by Saudi King Salman, the prince's father.
Saudi Arabia is a top US ally in the Middle East. Both countries view Iran as a major threat to security.
Mohammed bin Salman, 32, has spearheaded social and economic reforms within the oil-rich kingdom, partly under his Vision 2030 initiative, as well as an anti-corruption campaign.
In the war in Yemen, Washington supports a Saudi-led coalition against Tehran-backed Houthi rebels. The US has aided the Saudis with military intelligence, weapons deliveries and air-to-air refuelling of aircraft.
The Saudis defend the Yemen policy as an effort to counter Iranian intervention.
During the crown prince's visit the Senate rejected an effort to force Trump to end the US support for Saudi Arabia's military operations in the war in Yemen. The vote was 55-44.
The visit was Mohammed bin Salman's second to the White House since Trump took office 14 months ago. Trump and Salman met in May in Riyadh when Trump visited Saudi Arabia.
The prince said the two countries can "do a lot of great things together," including in mutual US-Saudi investment.
"We are trying also to tackle new opportunities, and to prepare the visit of His Majesty as soon as possible with the new waves of opportunities," he said.
Trump underlined Saudi plans to buy billions in US military equipment.
"The relationship is probably the strongest it's ever been," he said. "We understand each other."
Trump recalled "a very incredible two days" he spent last year in the kingdom and praised King Salman's decision weeks afterward to elevate Mohammed bin Salman to be heir apparent.
"I think your father made a very wise decision," Trump said in a White House appearance with reporters present.
He called the king a "special man, and I know he's coming over soon."
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Wednesday, March 21st 2018
Frank Fuhrig (dpa)
           


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