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Opinion: A Distinctive Political Trip | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudis are following the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the United States which has occupied the headlines in the past few days with much interest. Various US officials welcomed the visit and expressed their appreciation for it. Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry at the beginning of the visit indicated that its schedule would be busy and important.

That meeting was followed by a series of high-level meetings with the Defence Minister, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), prominent members of the Senate and even the Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan. There was also an important meeting with the National Economic Council, and the official meetings ended with a presidential meeting at the White House. This alludes to the status of the young prince as meetings held in the Oval Office with the president are usually limited to heads of state.

During this meeting, Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the US president reviewed the most important points of Vision 2030 and possible investment opportunities for the United States in Saudi Arabia which would maintain the successful strategic partnership between the two countries that has existed for more than eight continuous decades.

The visit came amid an “unstable” and “strained” atmosphere according to descriptions of relations between the two countries. However, the young prince’s visit and his conversations with decision makers in Washington and the statements that were issued after that were a source of reassurance that the picture is not like some biased media outlets make it out to be.

The Prince is using a new approach and method when dealing with the media. Members of the accompanying delegation that consisted of ministers and important executives were asked to make a presentation about why they had come. After the presentation, they took questions and answered them transparently and directly and in an immediate and reassuring manner.

After this, a series of good news followed including the establishment of the Prince Muhammad Bin Salman College for Management and Entrepreneurship at the King Abdullah Economic City in partnership with Global Babson College. The Dow Chemical Company then became the first company to receive a trading license from the government of Saudi Arabia, allowing 100 percent ownership in the country’s trading sector.

The Prince and his accompanying delegation then visited Silicon Valley in California which is home to many of the world’s largest technology companies, and presented to them the new economic vision. In doing so, he is the first marketer of his country and is trying hard to attract investment capital that has added value and that could provide a quantum leap in the diversification of sources of income in a practical and fast manner.

The visit has given a very positive impression of the new economic vision for Saudi Arabia and the direction that it is heading in. It gives out reassuring messages that the situation between the two countries is not as melancholy even if the two sides disagree on some points, and that their future together may be stronger.