Saudi crown prince seeks the Kingdom's image makeover in U.S. marathon tour

Credit Flickr  MANILA BULLETIN

And he is behind a major anti-corruption drive targeting the Saudi elite, which critics say also removes domestic rivals.

As the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne began his PR offensive, however, Congress was debating reducing military aid to Saudi Arabia because of alleged atrocities in the war in Yemen.

Earlier this month, Crown Prince Mohammed told CBS in an interview that Saudi schools have been "invaded" by elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated by Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organisation along with other militant groups such as Al Qaeda and Daesh.

Saudi Arabia on Monday called the Iran nuclear deal a "flawed agreement", and Trump has made clear he plans to exit the agreement unless changes are made to it.

An image of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US President Donald Trump sharing a thumbs-up during their meeting on Tuesday has gone viral on social media.

Trump said the U.S. -Saudi relationship had improved from the days of the Obama administration, which halted some arms sales to Saudi Arabia over concerns about civilian deaths in Yemen.

"But Iran has not been treating that part of the world or the world itself appropriately", he said. Mattis said the U.S is working with the U.N.'s new envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths of Britain, in pursuit of a political solution to the civil war, which has killed more than 10,000 civilians since it started in March 2015.

The 32-year-old crown prince also has big economic plans, and over three weeks in the United States he will meet businessmen in NY, tech mavens from Google and Apple Inc.in San Francisco, and entertainment bigwigs in Los Angeles.

At the White House, Trump repeated his description of the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated by Obama, as the "worst deal ever".

"We'll see what happens", Trump said.

A noticeable cooling between the USA and Riyadh during the Obama administration, which culminated in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, prompted Brookings to describe the relationship as "rocky", while the Financial Times called it "toxic". The United States, adds fuel to the fire so that the crisis remains in Yemen and rift becomes wider between Riyadh and Teheran.

Trump said the U.S. has "zero tolerance" for funding of terrorism.

Discussion focused on means of developing trade cooperation and technology development between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The two countries finalised $110 billion defence deals.

Since then, both countries have been working to restore the relationship, driven in part by "a strategic alignment between Saudi Arabia's interests in the region and those of the U.S., mostly centring around controlling Iran's regional reach", Al Jazeera asserts.

A Gulf dispute pitting some Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar will also likely be brought up at the Trump meeting.

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