Saudi deputy crown prince embarks for US to meet with Trump
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (AFP/File)
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Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is to meet US President Donald Trump later this week, the Saudi Press Agency said in a statement Monday.
The agency said the deputy crown prince left to the United States on a business trip that is scheduled to start on Thursday.
The young prince is due to meet with Trump and other senior US officials to “discuss strengthening bilateral relations,” according to the agency.
The meeting would mark the first between top-level Saudi and US officials since Trump came into office in January.
The visit comes as the US expands its military action against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, a country on the brink of widespread famine and torn apart by civil war involving Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led Arab coalition.
The US has been providing support, weapons and precision training to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
Earlier this week the US State Department approved a $390 million sale of precision guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, an arms deal that had been halted by the Obama Administration due to concerns about civilian casualties.
In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition launched air raids against Iran-backed Houthi rebels and their allies after the rebels overran much of Yemen.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in the war since that date, the UN has said, including around 1,400 children.
Another three million Yemenis have been displaced by the conflict and millions are in need of food aid.
The conflict has also enabled al-Qaeda to expand, in an environment defined by growing sectarianism, shifting alliances, security vacuums and a burgeoning war economy, according to recent reports from The International Crisis Group.
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