Saudi Crown Prince meets Trump, Congressmen, Senators

Saudi Crown Prince meets Trump, Congressmen, Senators
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Saudi Crown Prince meets Trump, Congressmen, Senators

Saudi Arabia Embassy press statement followed by the text of press conference between Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and U.S. President Donald Trump, members of the U.S. Congress and members of the U.S. Senate

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz met today with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, House Majority Leader, the Senate Majority Whip, Chair and Ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairs and Ranking members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

His Royal Highness reaffirmed the importance of the Kingdom’s institutional relationship with all branches of the US government.

His Royal Highness highlighted the unprecedented levels of cooperation and the historic partnership between the two countries, and briefed the members on the Kingdom’s plans for economic transformation through Vision 2030, including recent reforms to empower women and youth in Saudi society.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman AlSaud.jpg

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud

His Royal Highness noted during these meetings the opportunities presented by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to develop an even closer economic relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States, and the investment and trade agreements already in place that will create thousands of jobs in both countries.

His Royal Highness underscored Saudi Arabia’s commitment to its leading role concerning countering terrorism and extremism in close cooperation with the U.S.

The Crown Prince also discussed the situation in Yemen, and how the two countries can work together towards a political solution while countering the threat posed by Iran and the Iran-backed Houthi militias, particularly the threat of Iranian ballistic missiles, and threats to strategic maritime shipping that threaten to destabilize the Gulf region at large.

The Crown Prince also briefed members on the Kingdom’s efforts to address and alleviate the humanitarian situation in Yemen through the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operation Plan.

Press Conference, President Trump Crown Prince Bin Salman, Tuesday March 20, 2018

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much, everybody.  It’s a great honor to have the Crown Prince with us.

Saudi Arabia has been a very great friend and a big purchaser of equipment and lots of other things.  And one of the biggest investments in the United States is their — I guess it’s your big investment — is buying stock in companies and various other things in the United States and creating jobs.

We’ve become very good friends over a fairly short period of time.  I was in Saudi Arabia in May.  And we are bringing back hundreds of billions of dollars into the United States.  And we understand that, and they understand that.

Some of the things that — have been approved and are currently under construction and will be delivered to Saudi Arabia very soon, and that’s for their protection.  But if you look, in terms of dollars, $3 billion, $533 million, $525 million — that’s peanuts for you.  (Laughter.)  You should have increased it.  $880 million, $645 million, $6 billion — that’s for frigates; $889 million, $63 million — and that’s for various artillery.

Some of the things that we’re now working on and that have been ordered and will shortly be started in construction and delivered: the THAAD system — $13 billion; the C-130 airplanes, the Hercules, great plane — $3.8 billion; the Bradley Vehicles — that’s the tanks — $1.2 billion; and the P-8 Poseidons — $1.4 billion.  And what it does is it really means many, many jobs.  We’re talking about over 40,000 jobs in the United States.

So we make the best equipment in the world.  There’s nobody even close.  And Saudi Arabia is buying a lot of this equipment, and a lot of people are at work making the equipment, not only for us — because we, as you know, we’re getting a $700 billion military proposal.  And that’s even a lot for you guys.  But we’re getting a $700 billion military plan this year, and 716 will be next year — $716 billion.

So we really have a great friendship, a great relationship.  I would really have to say the relationship was, to put it mildly, very, very strained during the Obama administration.  And the relationship, now, is probably as good as it’s really ever been, and I think will probably only get better.   Tremendous investments made in our country.  And that means jobs for our workers, jobs for our people.

Also, defense.  We’re talking about defense, and we’re working very hard with Saudi Arabia.  And they’re also footing a big part of the bill for defense — the whole Middle East.  And we know what’s happened in the Middle East.  And it has not been a pretty picture for the United States or for anybody.

And a lot of things are changing, and they’re changing very rapidly.  As you know, ISIS is now — we’ve recaptured almost 100 percent of the territory, as you probably have heard before anybody.  But we’ve captured close to 100 percent of the territory held by ISIS.  We’ve moved very rapidly, very quickly.  And that’s, really, coming to an end in that part of the world — it’s coming to an end.  And we’ll be able to get out of certain areas that we’ve wanted to get out of for a long period of time.  And other countries can handle it.  At this point, they’ll be able to handle it.

So it’s a great honor to have you and your representatives here.  Crown Prince, thank you very much.  Thank you for being here.

CROWN PRINCE BIN SALMAN:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Actually, the relations between Saudi Arabia and United States of America, it’s old relation.  We are the oldest ally for the United States of America in the Middle East.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

CROWN PRINCE BIN SALMAN:  More than 80 years of alliance and big interest — politically, economically, and security, in different area — a lot of area.  And the foundation for relation, it’s really huge and really deep.

And a different issue — we know that today, the relation, it’s the cause of more than 4 million jobs in the United of States of America, directly and non-directly.  Also, it’s a cause for a lot of jobs in Saudi Arabia directly and non-directly.

And, as you know, Mr. President, from day one you’ve reached this office, we’ve planned to tackle 200 billion U.S. dollars for opportunities in the next four years, but it end up with 400 billion U.S. dollar for opportunities.

We’ve talked to you, Mr. President, about the military deals, the implementation, and it is more than 50 percent.  And, also, the implementation overall in the 400 billion U.S. dollar of opportunity, more than 55 percent.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Right.

CROWN PRINCE BIN SALMAN:  We planned this for next 10 years, but it happens in one year, we implement 55 percent, though.  So this is signal that there is a lot of things could be tackled in the close future, and more opportunities.  And that why we are here today, to be sure that we’ve tackled all the opportunities and achieve it, and also get rid of all the threats facing our both countries and the whole world.

So I am very glad to be here today.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well that’s right.  And you know, one thing that you have been really focused on is the terrorism threat and the funding of terrorism.  And whether it’s Saudi Arabia or other countries, as we know, there will be no funding.  It is — we have a zero tolerance for the funding of terrorists, and we’re working very hard.  And I will say that Saudi Arabia has been working very hard on that, as are certain other countries in the Middle East.

When I was there in May, I think it was one of the most incredible two-day meetings that I’ve ever seen — that anybody has ever seen.  It was an amazing two-day period.  We had 56 countries.  We had — everybody was there at the head of every country.  Virtually — I guess, in every case, it was the head of the country.  And we talked about terrorism and the funding of terrorism.  And it will not be allowed.  It will not be allowed.  That would be the one thing that would end the relationship with any country.  So I think there’s a very big focus on that — the funding of terrorism — meaning, it’s over.

And the other thing that I really am very happy about is that we talked about 400 billion dollars’ worth of investment, of which we’ve already invested and seen invested $200 billion to our companies, to various other places, and people that make things.  So a lot of places throughout the United States are benefitting by this massive investment made by Saudi Arabia to buy product from the United States.

And again, we make the best military product in the world, whether it’s missiles or planes or anything else.  There’s nobody that even comes close.  So I just want to thank you and I want to congratulate you on everything.  Thank you very much.

CROWN PRINCE BIN SALMAN:  Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much, everybody.

Q    Can you comment on the bombings in Austin, Mr. President?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  The bombings in Austin are terrible.  The local, state, and federal are working hand-in-hand to get to the bottom of it.  This is obviously a very, very sick individual, or maybe individuals.  These are sick people, and we will get to the bottom of it.  We will be very strong.  We have all sorts of federal agencies over there right now.  We’re searching.

What’s going on in Austin — a great place, tremendous place — is absolutely disgraceful.  So we have a lot of power over there.  We’re looking; it’s not easy to find.  But these are sick people and we have to find them as soon as possible.  We have to find them, really, immediately.

I will say, working with Texas, working with the local governments has been great.  But we have to produce, we have to find this very sick person or people.

Thank you all very much.

Q    How was your call with President Putin?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory — his electoral victory.

The call had to do, also, with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future so that we can discuss arms, we can discuss the arms race.  As you know, he made a statement that being in an arms race is not a great thing.  That was right after the election — one of the first statements he made.

And we are spending $700 billion this year on our military, and a lot of it is that we are going to remain stronger than any other nation in the world by far.

We had a very good call, and I suspect that we’ll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have.  And also to discuss Ukraine and Syria and North Korea and various other things.

So I think, probably, we’ll be seeing President Putin in the not-too-distant future.

Q    How are you going to counter Iran?  This is a Saudi —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we’re going to see what happens.  The Iran deal is coming up.  It’s probably another month or so, and you’re going to see what I do.  But Iran has not been treating that part of the world, or the world itself, appropriately.  A lot of bad things are happening in Iran.  The deal is coming up in one month, and you will see what happens.  Okay?

Q    Your Royal Highness, should the President pull out of the Iran deal?

CROWN PRINCE BIN SALMAN:  Well, we’ll talk about that today.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  (Laughs.)  Okay?  Thank you very much, everybody.

HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Meets with Members of the U.S. Senate

March 20, 2018

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Senators Dan Sullivan, Tom Cotton, Joe Manchin, and Lindsay Graham, part of his official meetings with prominent members of the U.S. government. These meeting emphasized the importance of communicating directly and openly with our partners in the U.S. Congress. The meetings further demonstrated that the Kingdom’s relationship with the United States is multidimensional. The Saudi-American partnership is historic and strategic, and it continues to grow and institutionalize. During these meetings, His Royal Highness discussed various topics, including the various cooperative efforts to countering terrorism and extremism, the threat of Iran, the need to support the Yemeni people by putting pressure on the Iran-backed Houthi militias to end the conflict, the great transformation happening within the Kingdom as it is manifested in Vision 2030, and the Kingdom’s drive for economic diversification. The Crown Prince emphasized the importance of the Saudi-American alliance, and lauded the Kingdom’s partners in the U.S. for their efforts in developing and enhancing the bilateral relations between both nations.

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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

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