by WorldTribune Staff, August 8, 2017
Saudi Arabia is prepared to work with the Trump administration to contain “Iranian actions and expansionist policies,” Riyadh’s new ambassador to the United States said.
Prince Khaled bin Salman said he has seen “huge improvement in Saudi-U.S. relations under this administration.”
President Donald Trump “is determined to work with his allies in the region to counter Iranian expansionism and terrorism,” Prince Khaled told The Washington Post in an interview that was published on Aug. 7. “We are happy with the current policies in the region.”
In May, Trump chose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip as president and several political and economic delegations have visited Riyadh since January.
At the landmark meeting of May 21 in Riyadh, Trump urged leaders from 55 Arab and Muslim states to “drive out” terrorists who “worship death” and not God.
Related: Trump to Muslim world: Terrorists ‘worship death’; Their souls ‘will be fully condemned’, May 21, 2017
Asked if the tide was turning against Iran, Prince Khaled said: “Yes, I do. I think the U.S. and its allies realize how big the Iranian threat is to international security.”
On Yemen, Prince Khaled pointed the finger at Iran for stoking the two-year war. “The ball is [now] in the Houthis’ court…they have to drop their weapons and become part of Yemen, not part of Iran.”
On the Qatar dispute, the new ambassador reiterated Riyadh’s concern that “Qatar’s policies have been a threat to our national security, especially when they interfere in our domestic politics and support extremists.”
He accused Doha of supporting Al Qaida affiliates in Syria and “some terrorist [Shi’ite] militias in Iraq,” and called on Qatar to “stop funding extremism.”
Asked about alleged Saudi support for extremism, Prince Khaled said “The Saudi government is on the front line of fighting terrorism. While there might be people from a lot of different countries who support terrorism, in Qatar the problem is that it is government-funded.”