Saudi Arabia announced “a historic turning point” in ties shared with the United States after President Donald Trump welcomed Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the White House.
A Bloomberg report cited a senior adviser to the Deputy Crown Prince said in a statement after Tuesday’s meeting that “relations had undergone a period of difference of opinion”.
The Saudi statement said Trump had a “great understanding” of the bilateral relationship. The president and the prince “share the same views on the gravity of the Iranian expansionist moves in the region,” the adviser said.
“However, today’s meeting has put things on the right track, and marked a significant shift in relations, across all political, military, security and economic fields.”
The praise for Trump’s “great understanding” of US-Saudi relations reflects the eagerness for a renewed alliance after deep strains with former President Barack Obama, who crafted the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The new administration sees Saudi Arabia “as a crucial part of the Middle East and an important country to have a positive relationship with – even if there are irritants in the relationship,” said Simon Henderson, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and director of the institute’s Gulf and Energy Policy Program.
“This is at odds with the Obama administration, so they want to make that clear distinction.”
Saudi Arabia had viewed with unease the administration of US President Barack Obama, whom they felt considered Riyadh’s alliance with Washington less important than negotiating the Iran nuclear deal.