The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, was in Washington, D.C. on Monday. It’s the start of a two week visit that will mix politics and business.
CGTN’s Toby Muse has more.
Bin Salman was embarking on a multi-city tour of the U.S., looking to strengthen ties between the two countries and hunt for investment.
The Crown Prince is likely to be warmly received by President Donald Trump in the White House on Tuesday. Trump has been a vocal critic of the nuclear deal with Iran, a deal that also worries Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia does not want to develop any nuclear bomb, but if Iran gets a nuke we will follow suit as soon as possible,” he told the CBS news program, 60 Minutes, in an interview broadcast on the eve of his arrival.
The crown prince is due to meet with Trump’s proposed new head of the State Department and the secretary of defense.
At the same time, Bin Salman is likely to face questions over the Saudi-led war in Yemen that has created a humanitarian catastrophe in the country. While the White House has been largely silent, the U.S. has been providing Saudi Arabia with military support for its war effort there. And members of Congress from both parties have been highly critical of the war.
But this trip can be seen too as the latest move in a worldwide public relations campaign to show a different face of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom, known for its strict adherence to a conservative branch of Islam, has promised a number of reforms including letting women drive and open businesses.
The crown prince’s tour will also include New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles – as he looks for possible investments. Saudi Arabia is expected to scale back its public offering for the oil giant Aramco, for the moment listing the oil company only on Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange. As the world moves towards renewable energy — and with the end of Saudi Arabia’s oil supplies on the distant horizon — the kingdom is finally looking to diversify its economy beyond fuel.