US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed the situation in war-torn Yemen during a meeting, including Houthi rebel and Iranian activity and the humanitarian crisis, the White House said.
“On Yemen, the president and the crown prince discussed the threat the Houthis pose to the region, assisted by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The leaders discussed additional steps to address the humanitarian situation and agreed that a political resolution to the conflict is ultimately necessary to meet the needs of the Yemeni people.”
Meanwhile, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund had announced that it would take a $400 million stake in Endeavor, one of Hollywood’s biggest talent and event managers. More deals are likely as the crown prince plans meetings with business leaders at a half-dozen stops across the US through April 7.
Crown Prince Mohammed said his country was eyeing $400 billion in US business opportunities over the next four years. “A lot of things could be tackled in the close future and more opportunities and that’s why we’re here today,” he said.
Trump’s overtures to the kingdom mark a dramatic turn from the Obama administration, which was cool to Saudi Arabia.
But Trump has signalled he won’t seek to impose US values on countries that support American foreign policy and economic objectives — and Crown Prince Mohammed arrived in the US ready to cut deals.
One focus of Crown Prince Mohammed’s meeting with Trump was expanding cooperation to counter Iran’s influence in the Middle East, according to White House officials.
In the region, “our interests are completely aligned and our vision for what we think needs to happen is virtually identical,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Washington.
Trump had criticised Iran’s government and military leaders in an annual presidential statement marking the Persian holiday of Nowruz.