Trump tells Saudi royal he seeks 'just' settlement to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman shake hands in the State Dining Room before lunch at the White House in Washington, DC, on March 14, 2017
US president and Saudi deputy crown prince discuss countering Iran and boosting economic ties

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday told Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman that he had a strong desire to achieve "a comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" when the two met at the White House, according to an official readout release Wednesday.

The pair instructed their teams to explore further steps in many fields to "further strengthen and elevate" ties. Officials in Washington and Riyadh also plan to consult on moves to expand commercial ties and spur investment, as well as boost cooperation in the energy sector.

Trump and the crown prince also discussed "the importance of confronting Iran's destabilizing regional activities" and "continuing to evaluate and strictly enforce" the international deal meant to stop Iran from creating a nuclear bomb.

Trump also declared support for development of a new joint program including initiatives in energy, industry, infrastructure and technology worth potentially more than $200 billion in the next four years.

The US and Saudi Arabia noted that increased economic cooperation could create as many as a million direct American jobs in the next four years, as well as millions of indirect US jobs and jobs in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has long been a major ally of the United States but some analysts say the relationship became strained under former president Barack Obama, particularly over his initial reluctance getting involved in Syria and other regional problems, as well as the signing of a landmark nuclear accord and lifting of international sanctions against their regional rival, Shiite Iran.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has expressed optimism that the Trump presidency will be more engaged in the region, particularly in containing Iran.

Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Shiite Iran of interference in Arab affairs, particularly in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain.

Prince Mohammed's trip comes as King Salman, 81, is on an Asian tour lasting about one month and emphasizing economic ties.


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