On Tuesday, a meeting took place between Donald Trump, President of United States and Mohammad bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
This is the first meeting of Donald Trump with the prince after taking office. Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is said to be the person in Saudi kingdom who is running the show. Currently, working on Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030, he is making an effort to diversify its economy besides their reliance on depleting oil reserves.
To overcome its economic dependency on crude oil. Riyadh has also put forward a plan to sell 5% of the Saudi Aramco Company, considering that it is the biggest oil company in Saudi Arabia. This offer is anticipated to be world’s largest public offering. Both leaders discussed investment opportunities in the country for US companies.
During Barack Obama’s administration, the situation with the Saudi government had generally been on the waning front with tense relations by the end of his time, especially over the US relations with Iran. The Saudi’s felt that Iran was being given more attention than Saudi Arabia, due to the 2015 nuclear program deal.
“President Trump expressed his deep respect for the religion of Islam, considering it one of the divine religions that came with great human principles kidnapped by radical groups.”
After yesterday’s meeting between the two, a senior advisor to the Prince said, “This meeting is considered a historical turning point in relations between both countries and which had passed through a period of divergence of views on many issues.” Further, he added the meeting had restored the issues on their right path and forming a big change regarding political, military, security and economic issues. The senior adviser, who issued the statement also said, adding that both leaders had identical views on “the danger of Iran’s regional expansionist activities.”
The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) states are of the opinion that Trump is a strong president and will provide help in containing Iran’s regional power expansion, which is a direct threat to Saudi Arabia and indirectly to US security and energy interests.
Shared interests over Iran
Both leaders shared similar views on Iran’s expansion, calling it “very dangerous” and “the danger of Iran’s regional expansionist activities,” is not in the best of interest for United States.
Last month, Mr Trump called Iran a very dangerous country and tweeted against it for not appreciating what a good deal they got under Obama. Tensions have also arisen between the two countries over its ballistic missile testing since the beginning of this year.
Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
The statement released did not give a clear indication whether the ban on the six Muslim countries (Sudan, Yemen, Iran, Somalia, Syria,and Libya) was discussed. But it did say that Prince Salman understood from his meeting that it was not aimed at “Muslim countries or Islam”.
Joining the president for the meetings were Vice President Mike Pence; H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser; Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist; Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff; and Mr. Kushner.
Muslim travel ban understood by Saudi Prince
The bone of contention for Trump was, signing of a revised executive order which imposed a ban on citizens of Somalia, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Libya from traveling to US, however, Iraq was removed from the list after his first attempt was blocked by court.
According to the senior advisor the Prince, “expressed his satisfaction after the meeting on the positive position and clarifications he heard from President Trump on his views on Islam.” He also stated, “President Trump expressed his deep respect for the religion of Islam, considering it one of the divine religions that came with great human principles kidnapped by radical groups.”
The senior adviser also said the leaders discussed the “successful Saudi experience of setting up a border protection system” on the Saudi-Iraq border that has prevented migration and smuggling.
Trump who has vowed to start work quickly on his own barrier along the nearly 2,000-mile US-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigrants and drugs from crossing to the north.
The visit which was initially expected to be a short meet-and-greet was turned at the last moment into a formal lunch.
Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle regard Saudi Arabia as a vital component of the White House strategy to get Arab Middle Eastern countries to help break the stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians. This approach is said to be favored by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has been tasked with forging a peace between the two sides.