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3 Main Stops, Political and Economic Issues on Agenda of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s Visit to U.S. | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Reuters/Charles Platiau

Washington-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will arrive on Monday in the United States on a historic visit, which is the third of its kind since last year. The Deputy Crown Prince’s visit will include three main stops during which he will meet with U.S. officials to discuss political and economic issues.

On Monday morning, Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and will host an Iftar on Monday evening for U.S. officials at the place where he is residing.

The Royal Court had released a statement on Sunday evening saying: “Upon directions by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and in response to an invitation by the United States government, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, will leave on Monday to the United States on an official visit during which he will meet with a number of officials to discuss the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries, and discuss issues of mutual interest and regional issues.”

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s visit includes a large number of meetings. He will see officials from the Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday, including CIA Chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in addition to representatives from the private sector.

The Deputy Crown Prince will also meet on Wednesday with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who visited Riyadh last April, and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, in addition to Republican and Democratic leaders. He will also hold a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

On Thursday, U.S. President Barak Obama will receive Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at the White House. The Deputy Crown Prince will also meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at the ministry’s headquarters and will then sit with President of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donohue and members of the chamber.

The visit of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is of great political importance because the prince, who is also the Kingdom’s Minister of Defense, will meet with high-ranking U.S. officials.

The visit is also important in its timing: There have been disputes concerning some regional issues.

Also, the visit is crucial as it comes at a time when the region sees a declining U.S. role, particularly during the term of President Obama and the signing of a nuclear deal with Iran, in light of Tehran’s continuous threats.

Several observers say these disputes do not affect the strategic relations between both allied countries.

The military and security file is considered the most important issue to be discussed by Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. A military official told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Prince Mohammed Bin Salman will meet with Carter next Friday at Navy Station Norfolk in the state of Virginia.”

The official said: “The meeting will touch on the security partnership between both countries and the issue of fighting terrorism in the region, in addition to strengthening the defensive security of the Kingdom and the Gulf States facing the increasing regional threats.”

The Deputy Crown Prince’s visit is also important as Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is leading a campaign to implement the Saudi Vision 2030, a plan by the Kingdom that aims at removing the country’s dependence on oil.

The Deputy Crown Prince will make two important stops in each of New York and California where he will speak with a number of CEOs at Wall Street to encourage investments in Saudi Arabia and explain the ambitions of the Saudi Vision.

Saudi sources said that Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is expected to meet with U.N. Secretary General Ban Kin Moon during his stop in New York.

Lately, the United Nations had added the Saudi-led coalition to a blacklist of states violating children’s rights.

Shortly after its decision, the U.N. removed the name of the coalition from the blacklist.

A U.S. official told Asharq Al-Awsat that the visit of the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince has a special importance in light of the efforts to defeat ISIS in each of Syria and Iraq. The official said that both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia agree that fighting needs to stop in Yemen and that warring parties should be encouraged to reach a political agreement.