OSAKA (Reuters) – President Donald Trump mentioned on Saturday he appreciated Saudi Arabia’s buy of U.S. navy gear, calling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a “good friend of mine” who had labored to open up the nation with financial and social reforms.
Trump’s plan to spice up protection gross sales to the dominion has hit obstacles in Congress, the place Democrats and a few fellow Republicans aren’t completely satisfied about human rights abuses, together with the homicide final yr of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“It’s an honor to be with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, a good friend of mine – a person who has actually carried out issues within the final 5 years by way of opening up Saudi Arabia,” Trump mentioned forward of a bilateral assembly with the crown prince.
“I believe particularly what you’ve carried out for girls and seeing what’s occurring – it’s like a revolution in a really constructive means,” he added, talking on the sidelines of a Group of 20 (G20) summit.
“We’re attempting to do our greatest for our nation, Saudi Arabia, and it’s a protracted journey,” the crown prince mentioned.
The Senate this month voted to dam the sale of billions of of navy gear to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and different international locations, rejecting Trump’s determination to sidestep Congress’s evaluate of such offers by declaring an emergency over Iran.
Trump has promised to veto the Senate motion.
On Saturday, Trump declined to say whether or not he would handle the loss of life of Khashoggi, who was a critic of the crown prince, in his assembly.
The CIA has decided the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing, whereas a U.N. rights investigator has additionally mentioned he ought to be investigated over the homicide, saying there was “ample credible proof” of his accountability.
Saudi officers have denied any involvement.
Critics have mentioned Trump let the Saudis off the hook by expressing doubt within the CIA evaluation and arguing that america couldn’t danger its alliance with Saudi Arabia due to the menace posed by Iran.
The US has blamed Iran for current assaults on oil tankers in Gulf delivery lanes, which the Unites States is working with Saudi Arabia and different allies to guard.
Trump mentioned Saudi purchases of navy gear supported no less than 1 million U.S. jobs, and appeared to exonerate the dominion for any previous acts of “terror”.
“For a very long time there have been questions as as to if or not Saudi Arabia and different international locations had been sponsoring terror,” mentioned Trump, as he sat subsequent to the crown prince.
“You may have completely stopped and I actually admire that and the world actually appreciates it,” Trump mentioned.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Chang-Ran Kim