Saudi deputy crown prince to meet Trump during US visit

Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to use the visit to discuss the Vision 2030 reform programme

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman left for the US Monday in a high profile visit that will see him meet with President Donald Trump.

Saudi Press Agency said the royal would discuss the “strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries and regional issues of mutual interest”.

The trip marks the first official visit by a Gulf leader since Trump took office and is expected to involve discussions on US-Saudi relations, efforts to counter ISIL and containing the influence of Iran.

Ahead of the prince’s arrival, Saudi foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir and US secretary of state Rex Tillerson held their second meeting in less than a month after another session during the G20 summit in February.

The two discussed critical bilateral and regional issues including the conflict in Yemen and counterterrorism efforts, a US state department spokesperson told Arab News.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also expected to use the visit to discuss the Vision 2030 reform programme for which he has been a key backer including associated investment opportunities and the Saudi Aramco IPO.

Read: In depth: Saudi prince unveils plans to end “addiction” to oil

Relations between Saudi Arabia and the US appear to have warmed since Trump took office. CIA director Mike Pompeo visited Riyadh last month and Trump held a phone call with Saudi ruler King Salman at the end of January.

Last week, the US secretary of state ended a three-month suspension by the administration of former President Barack Obama on a $390m arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

It is now awaiting interagency and congressional approval.