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Donald Trump a ‘true friend of Muslims’, says Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince

Trump true friend of Muslims, Saudi prince says after meeting US President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman. © Nicholas Kamm / AFP

WASHINGTON: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud hailed its first official meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump as “a historic turning point,” in US-Saudi relations .

The Deputy Crown Prince also the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia calling him a “true friend of Muslims” and said he does not believe the travel ban order by the President targeting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries excluding Saudi.

A senior adviser to Prince Mohammad said in a statement, “All of this is due to President Trump’s great understanding of the importance of relations between the two countries and his clear sight of problems in the region,” according to Bloomberg.

“Saudi Arabia does not believe that this measure is targeting Muslim countries or the religion of Islam,” the statement reads.

“This measure is a sovereign decision aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the United States of America.

“President Trump expressed his deep respect for the religion of Islam, considering it one of the divine religions that came with great human principles kidnapped by radical groups.”

This was the first meeting of Trump at the White House with a high-ranking official from the Arab and Islamic world after assuming the presidency on Januay 20.

The lunch on Tuesday was an early effort by the US President to engage with Prince Mohammed, the defence minister of Saudi Arabia, the New York Times reported.

Hopes are high in Riyadh for improved relations with the US after strained diplomacy between the Obama administration and the Saudis, particularly over the nuclear deal with Iran.

Their talks focused on a number of key issues, apart from further bolstering the strategic bilateral relations between the two countries. The talks showed the identical views of both the nations towards the major global and regional issues.

Trump and Prince Mohammad also underscored the need for intensifying efforts to combat terror. The leaders vowed to build a new strategic partnership and bring about qualitative leap in fighting terror funding and combat terror ideologies, Saudi Gazette reported.

They shared identical views with regard to Iran. Trump lauded the measures that have been taken by the Kingdom to counter the intervention of Iran in the internal affairs of the nations in the region.

The leaders also pledged their support to Bahrain, Egypt and Sudan in confronting the challenges faced by them. Prince Mohammad is the fifth world leader who had an official meeting with Trump at the White House since his inauguration.

During the historic meeting, the Trump administration reiterated its keenness on further strengthening the Kingdom’s potential in security and defence fields with a pledge of commitment to support it in this area.

The talks also figured the economic strategic partnership between the two countries and further enhancing it with exploring new avenues and opportunities.

Trump expressed hope that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies will be helpful across a range of issues, from creating safe zones in Syria to solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

With IANS inputs