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Trump’s visit marks a crucial chapter in Saudi-US relations

By the time this column is published, US President Donald Trump will have completed his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The fact that President Trump chose the Kingdom as the first country to visit since taking office in January reflects the US administration’s intention to build a stronger relationship with the Kingdom and with the region in general.

His visit is also meant to build stronger partnerships to combat terrorism in the region. This is an important occasion and a very crucial chapter in the history of Saudi-US relations.

Some see an improvement in the relationship between the two countries as a “correction” of US policy in the Obama era, while others see it as a continuation of the strategic relationship between the two countries.

First of all, I believe, there is no need to be confused or to be afraid to form an important, strong and exceptional relationship with the United States of America. Let us keep in mind that Turkey has made such a relationship and that it is an important member of NATO.

Qatar has on its territory one of the largest US military bases, while Iran has signed an extraordinary nuclear agreement. Thus, Saudi Arabia is right in maintaining continuity in its relationship with the most powerful nation in the world today.

Saudi Arabia remembers America’s leading role in the discovery of oil in the Kingdom and its contribution to the creation of Aramco, the backbone of the Saudi economy, which, over time, has turned into a success story and a source of national pride

Hussein Shobokshi

Long legacy

There is a positive history and a long legacy of relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Saudi Arabia remembers America’s leading role in the discovery of oil in the Kingdom and its contribution to the creation of Aramco, the backbone of the Saudi economy, which, over time, has turned into a success story and a source of national pride. This is not the only success in terms of the American footprint on the Saudi economy.

There is the success story of King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, which was launched with American involvement, as well as their contribution in establishing Saudi Arabian Airlines, that benefitted from the expertise of the then American airline TWA. These three are examples of exceptional management, especially in the case of Aramco, which affected the entire region and still has an undeniable effect.

Moreover, there are visible and tangible projects in the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, which were then under the supervision of another gigantic American engineering company, Bechtel. Of course, Saudis also have great respect for other American companies, such as Pepsi, Boeing, General Motors, McDonald’s, General Electric and others.

The respect of Saudis for American innovation has had a significant impact on development in the Kingdom in various vital and important areas.

Special and distinctive

For Saudis, all of these reasons and other factors make the relationship with America special and distinctive. There may be criticism of some US policies, but the admiration for America is deep and large.

America has a lot to offer in the field of science, technology, industry, education and medicine to name but a few areas. There is nothing wrong or shameful in intensifying cooperation with the US and building a private relationship, an issue that the enemies of Saudi Arabia are not in favor of.

The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States transcends US administrations and presidents because it is longstanding and based on common interests.

Saudi Arabia welcomes US President Donald Trump and it stresses its keenness to maintain a strong and lasting relationship with a most important country. This relationship is important, and even though there have been ups and downs the foundation remains firm and solid.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 22.
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(Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.

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Last Update: Monday, 22 May 2017 KSA 08:56 - GMT 05:56
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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