WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump met with Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday. This was the first meeting of Trump at the White House with a high-ranking official from the Arab and Islamic world after assuming the presidency on Jan. 20. This shows the paramount importance attached by the Trump Administration to the leading role being played by the Kingdom in the Arab and Islamic world as well as the strong ties that bind the two countries for several decades.
Trump broke the protocol by allowing the photographers and cameramen to take snaps of their historic meeting. Normally, photographers are not allowed in at the president’s meeting with a leader other than the heads of state. Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad is the fifth world leader who had an official meeting with Trump at the White House since his inauguration. This also signals that the Trump Administration holds the Saudi leadership in high esteem.
Their talks focused on a number of key issues, apart from further bolstering the strategic bilateral relations between the two countries and take these ties to further heights. The talks showed the identical views of both the nations toward the major global and regional issues.
Trump and Prince Muhammad underscored the need for intensifying efforts to combat terror. The leaders vowed to build a new strategic partnership and bring about qualitative leap in fighting terror funding and combat terror ideologies. They shared identical views with regard to the Iranian file. Trump lauded the measures that have been taken by the Kingdom to counter the intervention of Iran in the internal affairs of the nations in the region. The leaders also pledged their support to Bahrain, Egypt and Sudan in confronting the challenges faced by them.
During the historic meeting, the Trump Administration reiterated its keenness on further strengthening the Kingdom’s potential in security and defense fields with a pledge of commitment to support it in this area. The talks also figured the economic strategic partnership between the two countries and further enhancing it with exploring new avenues and opportunities. Trump has expressed hope that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies will be helpful across a range of issues, from creating safe zones in Syria to solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. According to sources, Trump showed enthusiasm in listening to the ideas and aspirations of the Kingdom, articulated by the Deputy Crown Prince, with every detail.
Trump also hosted a luncheon banquet in honor of the Deputy Crown Prince in the family dining room of the White House and this also marked another token of respect to the Saudi leadership. US Vice President Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Reince Priebus, chief of staff, and Strategist Steve Bannon were also present at the meeting.