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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 September 2018

White House: Saudi Crown Prince to meet Trump next Tuesday

Mohammed bin Salman to visit Washington, then head to other US cities for investment discussions

President Donald Trump meets with the Crown Prince in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on a previous visit. AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump meets with the Crown Prince in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on a previous visit. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The White House said on Monday that President Donald Trump will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next Tuesday, where they are expected to discuss bilateral and regional issues including the Iran nuclear deal and the Qatar dispute.

In an official statement on Monday which confirmed the exclusive run by The National on February 28, the government said Mr Trump will welcome the Crown Prince to the White House on March 20. "The president looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia and to advance our common security and economic priorities," the statement said.

Although the travel itinerary for the multiple stops is not yet finalised, it appears Washington will be the first stop in a two-week visit for Prince Mohammed to the United States. He will arrive in the US capital on Monday, and will hold three days of high-level meetings with senior defence, intelligence and state department officials. The Crown Prince will also meet Congressional members, business leaders and attend at least one event with major policy analysts and thinkers while in Washington.

The visit is Prince Mohammed’s second to Washington since Mr Trump assumed office, but his first since being appointed in his own position in June of last year. He also visited the White House twice during the Obama government.

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After Washington, the Crown Prince is set to visit major US cities to discuss economic co-operation, investments and his Vision 2030. Those cities will include New York, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle. He visited Silicon Valley in 2016, where he met social media barons and major investors to pitch his economic transformation plan for Saudi Arabia.

On the eve of the visit this Sunday, CBS is expected to air Prince Mohammed’s first interview with a US television outlet. Journalist and host Norah O'Donnell flew to Riyadh last week to conduct the interview, which is reportedly two years in the making. The questions addressed a wide ranging set of domestic and foreign policy issues.

There is high anticipation in Washington for the Crown Prince's visit. Early reports have indicated that the Trump government is planning a Camp David summit later this spring if its efforts to resolve the Qatar dispute materialise.

  1. The US push appears, however, to have stalled. While on a visit to Egypt last week, Prince Mohammed reportedly likened the dispute with Qatar to the US's decades-long embargo on Cuba, as one that "could last a long time".

US Secretary of Defence James Mattis is visiting Oman and Bahrain this week, and a US delegation that includes retired general Anthony Zinni and assistant secretary of state for Arabian Gulf affairs, Tim Lenderking visited Gulf capitals last week.

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