Iran, Yemen in focus as Trump and Saudi crown prince meet

Credit Flickr  MANILA BULLETIN

In his talks with the prince, Trump urged his guest to use some of his country's oil wealth to support the United States economy through the purchase of goods and military hardware.

Speaking in English, Prince Mohammed is pointing out significant Saudi investments in the U.S.

Trump sounded an ominous note as he looked ahead to a May decision about whether to stay in the Iran nuclear deal, loathed by both Trump and the Saudis.

Trump and the crown prince underscored the strength of U.S. -Saudi ties which suffered under the Obama administration.

Trump gave a warm welcome at White House to the powerful Crown Prince and credited United States defence sales to the Saudis boosting American jobs.

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Since then, both countries have been working to restore the relationship, driven in part by "a strategic alignment between Saudi Arabia's interests in the region and those of the USA, mostly centring around controlling Iran's regional reach", Al Jazeera asserts.

The Crown Prince said, "We are the oldest ally of America from the Middle East with more than 80 years of alliance and big interests - politically, economically, security".

"Last year, the Islamic republic defused regional threats - one of their aims was to harm the Islamic republic", Khamenei said in a broadcast on state television.

Trump has suggested he may break the agreement in May, prompting critics to say that any such move would spark a nuclear arms race in the region between the Saudis and the Iranians, who have threatened to disown the 2015 accord if the U.S. walks away. The Saudis and their allies are fighting Houthi rebels, but global organizations have harshly criticized the coalition's airstrikes and blockading of Yemeni ports for contributing to thousands of civilian deaths and a humanitarian catastrophe. Still, Trump's administration doesn't want Congress to cut assistance for Saudi-led operations there, warning that without USA help, civilian deaths would only increase.

He unveiled his ambitious plan "Vision 2030" past year which aims to wean Saudi Arabia off its dependence on oil and modernise its economy by building up diverse industries, including tourism.

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The Saudis are working aggressively to change perceptions.

He hailed the military sales as a boost to American jobs. In Yemen, the Kingdom says it is improving military targeting, opening up ports and pledging $1.5 billion in new aid. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News.

A key focus of his visit will be any information on a potentially lucrative listing of up to 5 percent of Saudi oil firm Aramco.

The United States is a major provider of weapons to Saudi Arabia and has given intelligence and logistical support to the Sunni-ruled kingdom in Yemen.

A Gulf dispute pitting some Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar will also likely be brought up at the Trump meeting.

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