Saudi deputy crown prince heads to US for official visit, set to meet Trump

Author: ARAB NEWSMon, 2017-03-13ID: 1489370434993615000JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman left the Kingdom on Monday for the United States where he is expected to meet President Donald Trump, according to an official Royal Court statement.Prince Mohammed, who will begin the official trip on Thursday, will meet Trump and senior US officials to discuss “the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries and regional issues of mutual interest.”The prince is spearheading the kingdom’s economic overhaul to become less dependent on oil and its major investments in US technology firms.No details were given on when he would meet Trump. He will be the first Gulf Arab royal to meet the president since his inauguration.Key issues at the top of the agenda are likely to include discussion on global energy prices, as well as the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition backed by Washington has been bombing Iran-backed Shiite rebels for nearly two years.Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and biggest buyer of American-made arms, is also part of the US-led coalition bombing campaign against the Daesh group in Syria.The trip takes place less than a year after Prince Mohammed visited Silicon Valley to sell his vision of market-oriented reforms and a transformation of the kingdom’s society.By freeing the kingdom from the statist model of its past, he hopes ultimately to create new private sector jobs for younger people in a country where half the population of 21 million Saudis — there are also 10 million expatriates — are estimated to be under 25.Younger Saudis face entrenched unemployment, a skills shortage, a lack of housing and growing pressure on living standards as the kingdom’s oil income grows ever less able to finance the needs of a rising population.Before his departure for the United States, Prince Mohammed met Citigroup’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat in Riyadh on Sunday to discuss investment opportunities in the kingdom and globally, SPA reported. (With input from AP & AFP)
Main category: Saudi Arabia

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