Saudi Crown Prince Begins Historic U.S. Visit


On the eve of a meeting between the Saudi crown prince and U.S. President Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia called the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers a “flawed agreement,” Reuters reported.

The meeting between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Trump comes at a time when Riyadh and Washington have been strengthening their relationship after tensions under the previous U.S. administration, in part over Iran.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called out Iran for what Riyadh has long slammed as Tehran’s destabilizing behavior in the region. “We’ve called for tougher policies towards Iran for years,” he said.

Saudi state news agency SPA said the Crown Prince left for the United States on Monday to begin the visit, which is also expected to include meetings with business leaders and stops in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.

It is first visit by Mohammed bin Salman to the United States since he became heir apparent. The ambitious young prince has embarked on reforms to modernize deeply conservative Saudi Arabia, Reuters added.

He visited Britain earlier this month on his first foreign tour since his rise as part of efforts to persuade Western allies that “shock” reforms have made his country, the world’s top oil exporter, a better place to invest and a more tolerant society.

The Saudi royal will meet Trump on Tuesday at the White House as well as senior administration officials. He is also due to meet with members of Congress, some of whom have been critical of the Saudi campaign in Yemen, particularly the humanitarian situation and civilian casualties.

In his meetings with business, industry and entertainment leaders, the prince is aiming to cultivate investments and political support. Several dozen Saudi chief executives are expected to join him in touting investment opportunities in the kingdom, Reuters noted.

The crown prince will have meetings at Google, Apple and Lockheed Martin, and he will also participate in a Saudi-U.S. CEO forum in New York and will meet with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

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