Trump defends arms sales to Saudi Arabia after talks with Crown Prince

Mizan performing at a private event last year. Credit Tasneem Alsultan for The New York Times

Mizan performing at a private event last year. Credit Tasneem Alsultan for The New York Times

Top Photo | President Donald Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington.

China also reached an agreement with the United States on investment in USA infrastructure last November.

Saudi Crown Prince, on Sunday, said that women need not wear a head cover or the black abaya in public as long as they are wearing something decent.

"We believe that Saudi Arabia is part of the solution", Mattis said.

Lawmakers have sharply criticized the war Saudi Arabia has waged with USA support over the past several years in Yemen, in which at least 1,000 civilians have been killed in bombing attacks. Sen.

Soaking in Trump's plaudits in the Oval Office, Prince Mohammed said little and left most of the talking to his host, who offered an optimistic forecast of lucrative US arms sales to the kingdom and more Saudi investment in the United States.

"He (bin Salman) could not use such amateurish lies to hide the role of Saudi Arabia's government and leaders in creating the most unsafe terrorist groups in modern history and in major terrorist incidents like the September 11 (attacks)", Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, according to Iran's Tasnim News Agency.

As recently as last week a United Nations rights watchdog called on Saudi Arabia to end discriminatory practices against women and give them full access to justice. The conflict has led USA lawmakers to propose a cutoff in support for a Saudi-led bombing campaign that has killed thousands.

Referring to Mohammad Bin Salman-led changes in the Gulf state, Trump praised the young prince in his new role.

"But Iran has not been treating that part of the world or the world itself appropriately", he said.


MBS could dangle a huge carrot in front of Trump for his support.

Though the prince has won Western plaudits for seeking to ease Saudi Arabia's reliance on oil, tackle chronic corruption and reform the conservative kingdom, the severity and secrecy of an anti-corruption crackdown last November has unnerved some investors.

Also high on the agenda in the White House talks was confronting Iran, a country Trump has repeatedly criticized for its expansionist policies in the Middle East.

The US president also reiterated his opposition to Iran's nuclear deal reached under former president Barack Obama.

According to the SIPRI report, which was released last week, Saudi Arabia increased its arms purchases by 225 percent over the past five years, importing 98 percent of its weapons from the United States and European Union countries.

Jubeir insists the issue is of little matter in the broader picture of US-Saudi ties.

"The deal is coming up in one month and we'll see what happens".

Saudi Arabia has opposed the deal since it was signed in 2015 by Iran and five world powers, saying it did not go far enough to curb Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the nuclear accord unless European allies and the U.S. Congress agree by May 12 to fix what he called its "disastrous flaws" and impose tough new restrictions aimed at curbing Iran's ballistic-missile development and its involvement in regional conflicts.

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