President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised US defense sales to Saudi Arabia as a boost to American jobs.
In Oval Office talks, Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed an agreement last year for $200 billion worth of Saudi investments with the United States, including large purchases of US military equipment. Trump said the military sales contributed to the creation of 40,000 American jobs.
The talks were part of the first visit by the prince to the United States since he became Crown Prince the last June. Trump produced charts to show the depth of Saudi purchases of US military hardware, ranging from ships to missile defense to planes and fighting vehicles.
“The relationship now is probably as good as it’s really ever been and I think will probably only get better. Tremendous investments made in our country and that means jobs for our workers,” Trump told reporters during a picture-taking session with the crown prince.
The crown prince said the Saudi pledge for $200 billion in investments will end up at $400 billion when fully implemented. He said a 10-year window for implementing the deal was already underway.
“This is a signal that there (are) a lot of things (that) could be tackled in the close future and more opportunities. And that’s why we are here today, to be sure that we’ve tackled all the opportunities and achieve it and also get rid of all the threats facing our both countries,” he said.
The two leaders were also expected to discuss tensions with Iran, a country Trump has repeatedly criticized for its expansionist policies in the Middle East.
Mohammed bin Salman is on a public relations blitz while traveling in the United States, with stops in New York, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.
Trump and the crown prince underscored the strength of US-Saudi ties which suffered under the Obama administration.