Saudis Promise 'Stronger and Deeper' Post-Election Ties to US
Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman makes first U.S. visit.
By SARAH KOLINOVSKY
June 17, 2016, 7:47 PM
• 2 min read
-- Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the United States will only “grow stronger and deeper in all areas, irrespective of who is in the White House,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir told reporters today.
He expressed no concern about Donald Trump’s calls for a temporary ban on Muslims’ entering this country, and he complimented Hillary Clinton despite her call a few days ago for the “the Saudis, Qatari and Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations,” in addition to saying those countries “should stop supporting radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.”
Al Jubeir said at a Washington news conference that Clinton has “tremendous experience” and “has been to the region many times.”
Today’s remarks came amid Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s first visit to the United States. The crown prince, 30, wields a tremendous amount of influence in the Kingdom and could become the future leader of Saudi Arabia.
He has met in recent days with Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and, this morning, with President Obama at the White House.
In a speech given in Orlando Thursday commemorating the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, Obama seemed to call out Saudi Arabia, a country with a notorious history of oppressing and even executing gays and lesbians. “We have to end discrimination and violence against our brothers and sisters who are in the LGBT community, here at home and around the world, especially in countries where they are routinely persecuted,” Obama said.
But when asked today about such comments, Al Jubeir said the topic was not discussed at the White House or in any meeting thus far.
A White House statement said the president and the deputy crown Prince did discuss steps to support the Iraqi people in light of the war against ISIS, and in Syria: “They reaffirmed the importance of supporting the cessation of hostilities and a political transition” away from Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.