Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivered his first address in the United States at the inaugural KSA – USA Partnership Event dinner held in the Andrew Mellon Auditorium, hosted by the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington, on Thursday.
This dinner was a celebration of the global importance of the strong Saudi-US bilateral security relationship over the past 70 years.
The program included compelling video testimonials and keynote remarks from leading voices that personally played crucial roles in guiding the Saudi-US alliance.
Each emphasized the enduring defense and counter-terrorism cooperation between both nations, and honored the heroes of the past, simultaneously underlining the need to keep our eyes fixed on the horizons of progress and reforms taking place today that will propel this pivotal bilateral relationship to new heights in the future.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated, “tonight we are celebrating over 70 years of military and security cooperation with the United States. Saudis and Americans have trained together and fought together to confront shared threats and to defend common interests. Our relationship with the United States is fundamental to security in the Middle East, and we are grateful for your support in building a better future together.”
“My own brother and our Ambassador to the United States experienced this firsthand as a pilot training with the US Air Force. He often reminds me that policy may be made in Riyadh and Washington, but it is in training and then in battle where trust is built, where friendships are formed, and where unbreakable ties are forged.”
During his remarks, the Crown Prince expressed a vision of a brilliant future full of possibility by providing an update on the progress toward achieving Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s ambitious blueprint charting Saudi Arabia’s long-term goals to transform and diversify into a leading economy of the 21st century.
The Crown Prince detailed examples of the ways in which Vision 2030 is modernizing Saudi Arabia as we speak, and providing future opportunities for continued strategic collaboration between our two nations beyond defense cooperation. Saudi Arabia is strengthening its economy and introducing progressive social transformation simultaneously -- unlocking the potential of the Saudi people and leading to a prosperous future for the country and the wider region.
High profile US speakers
High-level speakers, including Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Lindsey Graham, James Baker, William Cohen, Cindy Schwarzkopf, daughter of the late General Norman Schwarzkopf, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and Ambassador Khalid bin Salman, delivered stirring remarks commemorating the historic American and Saudi Arabian leaders of the past who further reinforced the foundations of the unshakable alliance between our two nations.
Speaking on the essential role of cooperation and trust to achieving the decisive victory of the Gulf War Coalition, former Secretary of State, Mr. James Baker, reminded those gathered that the Gulf War was a wonderful example of the enduring relationship between both nations, which had begun after World War II.
Baker noted that it is a great opportunity and fitting time to celebrate the Saudi US relationship. Today we have daunting challenges, including facing Iran and the threat of terrorism. Our historic and successful efforts to liberate kuwait marks one of the important highs of the US/Saudi relationship.
Additionally, President George H. W. Bush and General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. were honored with a KSA-USA Partnership Award for Outstanding Leadership, a recognition of their roles in building strategic partnerships during and after the Gulf War. Senator John McCain was also honored for his leadership and service.
Strong security partners
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains a strong security partner for the United States in the Middle East and beyond, leveraging its stability to lead on issues of counterterrorism, counter-extremism, and stemming terror financing. The Kingdom is working hard to defend the legitimate government of Yemen, alleviate the humanitarian situation, and secure its own borders against dangerous, Iran-backed Houthi militias that threaten to destabilize the entire Gulf region. The United States is a trusted partner in the Kingdom’s most vital national security interests.
The essential role of our ongoing security cooperation to foster stability in the region was further underscored during the remarks of Senator Lindsay Graham, who spoke while accepting Senator John McCain, where he stated that the value of the relationship between our nations is foundational to our security. Former Secretary William Cohen, in his speech, said about why this is happening right now, it is that "he has heard the footprints of history, he reached up and grabbed the coattails, and he is now on that horse as it thunders into the future."