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Deputy Crown Prince Salman and Kerry Discuss National Transformation Program, Mutual Cooperation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets US Secretary of State John Kerry. (AFP)

Washington- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday for an Iftar dinner in recognition of the Deputy Crown Prince’s visit to the United States.

Kerry warmly welcomed Prince Salman at his personal residence in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington.

U.S. Department of State Spokesman John Kirby said the two officials reviewed the “strong and enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and discussed a broad range of regional issues, including Yemen, Syria, Libya, and countering terrorism.”

They also discussed the Kingdom’s economic reform plans translated in its National Transformation Program (NTP) which falls within “Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030”. The plans aim at attracting foreign investments in non-oil sectors to prepare the country for the post-oil era.

Discussions also tackled this weekend’s shooting in Orlando which killed douzens of people and injured many others. Deputy Crown Prince Salman and Kerry both expressed their shared commitment to continue their cooperation in combating the spread of violent extremism, regionally and internationally.

Sources said that discussions between the two officials were very friendly, and that Prince Salman and Kerry have expressed mutual commitment to promote cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. on political, economic and security levels.

A recent report issued by the U.S. Department of State hailed the role of Saudi Arabia in combating terrorism in cooperation with the United States.

The report said that the Kingdom has achieved progress in facing terrorism and violent extremist ideologies.

On Tuesday, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to meet officials from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including CIA Chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in addition to representatives from the private sector in the U.S.

Earlier this month, Brennan said that he expected 28 classified pages of a U.S. congressional report into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States to be published, absolving Saudi Arabia of any responsibility.

In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya, Brennan said “there was no evidence” of a Saudi involvement in Sept. 11 after a 28-page congressional investigatory report claimed that there were proofs Saudi officials had supported Al-Qaeda in the run-up to the attacks.

Brennan described both Saudi King Salman and his deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “strong partners in this fight against terrorism.”

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.