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Trump, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Agree to Work Toward Stronger Ties

  • VOA News

FILE - Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pictured at the Elysee Palace in Paris, June 24, 2015.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have agreed to explore ways to "further strengthen" strategic relations between the two countries, signaling a thawing of ties that cooled under President Barack Obama's administration after it reached a 2015 nuclear agreement with regional rival Iran.

The White House said Wednesday that the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to stability in the Middle East, which is confronted with Iran's nuclear ambitions and conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

Trump and Prince Mohammed, who met Tuesday in Washington, also agreed to "explore additional steps" to identify commercial and investment opportunities, including those involving energy, a sector Saudi Arabia has a key stake in as the world's top oil exporter.

The president said he would support a new joint program designed to leverage "unique initiatives" in energy, infrastructure, technology and other areas that may be worth more than $200 billion in "direct and indirect investments" by 2021.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 14, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 14, 2017.

The White House statement said the two countries projected that expanded economic collaboration could create up to 1 million American jobs within the next four years.

The visit by the deputy crown prince was the highest-level visit to Washington by a Saudi royal family member since Trump's November presidential victory.

Prince Mohammed is leading Saudi Arabia's efforts to bolster its economy by diversifying it away from a reliance on crude oil prices.

Saudi officials have expressed optimism about rebuilding relations with the United States and collaborating with the Trump administration to limit Iran's influence in the region.

Saudi Arabia is the largest buyer of American-made weapons.

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