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Deputy crown prince’s US visit very positive: Al-Jubeir

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

WASHINGTON: After a week in Washington, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is heading west to meet with technology executives in Silicon Valley and then to New York to pitch his nation’s new economic plan to Wall Street investors.
The Deputy Crown Prince wants to discuss how Saudi Arabia can benefit from innovations spawned in California and then talk with New York investors about opportunities, including with Saudi Aramco, according to Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.
The Kingdom plans an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, which is expected to be valued at more than $2 trillion.
The prince is leading Saudi Arabia’s biggest-ever economic shakeup, moving to cut subsidies and diversify the economy away from oil by generating an extra $100 billion in non-oil revenue by 2020.
In Washington, he discussed economic and business issues with Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients, US Chamber of Commerce officials and executives from UScompanies.
He also discussed sensitive defense and foreign policy issues with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ash Carter, and visited the CIA to meet with Director John Brennan.
In the Oval Office, the deputy crown prince and Obama discussed conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen as well as Iran’s “destabilizing” activities in the region, the White House said in a statement.
“I would describe the meetings as very, very positive,” Al-Jubeir told reporters at the Saudi Embassy in Washington. The aim was to “exchange views and ideas on issues of the day on challenges that our two countries face in the region and the world,” he said.
On the Kingdom’s economic plans, “people in the US were very pleased with it and very supportive of it — the scope of it and breadth of it — and look forward to working with Saudi Arabia on the implementation of it,” Al-Jubeir said.
The visit comes at a sensitive time in a US-Saudi relationship that Obama described as “complicated” in an interview published in March by The Atlantic magazine.
Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia has enacted laws and taken other measures to counter terrorism and terrorist financing.
“The charges that are leveled at Saudi Arabia are, one, not correct. I think they’re exaggerated, I think frankly, they’re not fair,” he said, adding that Clinton has “tremendous experience” and knows the region well.
He said the country’s relationship with the US will remain strong regardless of who becomes president next year.
“Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US is bipartisan,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House, this relationship will go on.”

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