MBS starts multi-city USA visit with Trump meeting

Trump meets with Saudi Arabia's crown prince

Saudi Crown Prince Arrives at White House to Meet with Trump

The vote, which was being forced to the floor by a bipartisan group of senators including liberal Bernie Sanders, could cause diplomatic embarrassment on the day President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is launching a three-week U.S. tour.

The US leader praised him as a "great purchaser" of American armaments as the two men finalised the supply of $12.5 billion of planes, missiles and frigates to Saudi Arabia as part of last year's overall arms deal.

Noting that Saudi Arabia is a key partner and an all-time friend of the USA, the official said for Trump, his visit to the Kingdom was certainly one was of the high points of his first year in office.

Trump is touting close U.S. -Saudi ties during an Oval Office meeting with visiting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "There's nobody that even comes close to us in terms of technology and the quality of the equipment, and Saudi Arabia appreciates that".

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The Trump administration has adopted a pro-Saudi posture that is a dramatic shift from the Obama administration, which was cool to Saudi Arabia's autocratic rulers over a human rights record that remains abysmal, according to advocacy groups such as Amnesty International.

"The Trump administration will not be able to offer the necessary guarantees on any changes to USA law that would reassure Saudi Arabia and the IPO is simply too important to place in jeopardy", said Ayham Kamel of the Eurasia Group, a consultancy. Kushner and White House envoy Jared Greenblatt, who are drafting Trump's long-awaited Mideast peace plan, will also join the crown prince for dinner, the Saudi Embassy in Washington said.

Saudi Arabia was accused of attempting to bring down Lebanon's government, which is strongly influenced by Iranian proxy Hezbollah.

"Saudi Arabia is an indispensable partner in the region, without which the United States would be less successful", Lee said. (This would include Raytheon, a US defense contractor, being allowed to sell $7 billion worth of "smart bombs" to Saudi Arabia). Trump will emphasize the importance of a strong and unified Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members include both Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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"This is not the real Saudi Arabia", Prince Mohammed said recently about the repressive version of Islam many outsiders associate with the kingdom.

Experts say the prince's visit will improve the country's image in addition to its policy. Trump embraced the move, telling Prince Mohammed that "some tremendous things have happened" since he last visited the White House. On Monday, the Independent Journal Review quoted Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker as predicting that President Trump would most likely pull out of the agreement, unless European allies "really come together on a framework" for addressing his concerns.

But the most delicate discussions could be about Saudi Arabia's nuclear programme, which is mooted as civilian-focused but could quickly become a platform for building a weapon. He said he was restoring the more tolerant, egalitarian society that existed before Saudi Arabia's ultraconservatives were empowered in 1979.

Though MBS is not the monarch of the Muslim nation - that title falls to his 82-year-old father King Salman - his visit on Tuesday will be identical to past meetings between Trump and key world leaders.

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"Tell that to the people of Yemen, whose homes and lives are being destroyed by weapons marked 'Made in the United States of America, ' dropped by planes being refuelled by the U.S. military, on targets chosen with US assistance", Sanders said Tuesday.

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