$400 billion in opportunities, armaments and investment opportunities between Saudi Arabia and US: Saudi crown prince

Saudi Crown Prince says he loves working with the US president and that a lot has been achieved in the Middle East due to their partnership. (AFP/File)
Updated 06 October 2018
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$400 billion in opportunities, armaments and investment opportunities between Saudi Arabia and US: Saudi crown prince

  • We believe that all the armaments we have from the United States of America are paid for, it’s not free armament: crown prince
  • We have huge investments between both countries. We have good improvement in our trade – a lot of achievements, so this is really great: MBS

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said relations with the US are still strong despite comments by Donald Trump that the Kingdom must pay for American military support.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “Actually we will pay nothing for our security.” The Kingdom pays for all its military equipment from the US, he said:  “We believe that all the armaments we have from the United States of America are paid for, it’s not free armament.”
Since the beginning of Saudi-US relations “we’ve bought everything with money,” the crown prince told a group of Bloomberg reporters on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia changed its military spending strategy after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, with 60% of spending with the US over a decade, the prince said.
“That’s why we’ve created the $400 billion in opportunities, armaments and investment opportunities, and other trade opportunities,” which Prince Mohammed said was a good achievement for both countries.
The various deals, which were signed in 2017 when President Trump made Saudi Arabia his first overseas visit, means that “part of these armaments will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia, so it will create jobs in America and Saudi Arabia, good trade, good benefits for both countries and also good economic growth. Plus, it will help our security,” he said.
“I love working with him. I really like working with him and we have achieved a lot in the Middle East, especially against extremism, extremist ideologies, terrorism and Daesh,” said the crown prince.
President Trump and King Salman launched a global counter terror center in Riyadh during his visit to the country.
Prince Mohammed visited Washington in March where the president hailed the links between the two allies. “The relationship is probably the strongest it’s ever been,” Trump said at a joint press conference.
“We have huge investments between both countries. We have good improvement in our trade – a lot of achievements, so this is really great,” the prince said on Wednesday.
The US-Saudi efforts, along with global partners, have pushed back extremists and terrorists and countered Iran’s “negative moves in the Middle East in a good way,” he told the publication.
On the topic of controlling oil prices, the crown prince said the Kingdom has never “decided that this is the right or wrong oil price. The oil price depends on trade – consumer and supplier – and they decide the oil price based on trade and supply and demand. 
What we are committed in Saudi Arabia is to make sure there is no shortage of supply. So we work with our allies in OPEC and also non-OPEC countries to be sure that we have a sustainable supply of oil and there is no shortage and that there is good demand, that it will not create problems for the consumers and their plans and development,” he said.
Prince Mohammed confirmed that Trump did make a request to Saudi Arabia and OPEC to replace whatever may be lost of supply from Iran. “And that happened.  Because recently, Iran reduced their exports by 700,000 barrels a day, if I’m not mistaken. And Saudi Arabia and OPEC and non-OPEC countries, they’ve produced 1.5 million barrels a day. So we export as much as 2 barrels for any barrel that disappeared from Iran recently. So we did our job and more. We believe the higher price that we have in the last month, it’s not because of Iran. It’s mostly because of things happening in Canada, and Mexico, Libya, Venezuela and other countries that moved the price a little bit higher. But Iran, definitely no. Because they reduced 700,000 barrels and we’ve exported more than 1.5 million barrels a day,” the crown prince said.
When asked about diplomatic issues with Germany and Canada and how that differed from what Trump said, the prince replied: “It’s totally different. Canada, they gave an order to Saudi Arabia on an internal issue. It’s not an opinion of Canada about Saudi Arabia as much as they are giving an order to a different country. So we believe this is a totally different issue. Trump is speaking to his own people inside the United States of America about an issue.”


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 12 min 31 sec ago
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.