Trump backs new wave of Saudi investments

Trump backs new wave of Saudi investments
2 min read
16 March, 2017
Multi-billion dollar 'Saudi-US programme' marks a new positive turn in relations between Washington and Riyadh.
Donald Trump's aggressively anti-Iran stance has been welcomed by RIyadh [Getty]

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday backed a plan to boost Saudi Arabian investment in the US, with the White House on Wednesday touting an initiative it said could potentially provide more than $200bn for infrastructure and other sectors.

Washington announced a "US-Saudi programme" following a private lunch between Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday.

According to the White House, the new deal will see “unique initiatives in energy, industry, infrastructure and technology worth potentially more than $200bn in direct and indirect investments within the next four years".

Fresh Saudi investment in the US marks a positive shift in relations between Riyadh and Washington, after a period of strain under the Obama administration. This is especially so after the US eased relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival, with the nuclear accord in 2015.

A senior Saudi official cited by the Financial Times said the talks between Trump and Prince Mohammed had "put things on the right track, and marked a significant shift in relations, across all political, military, security and economic fields".

"This meeting is considered a historical turning point in relations between both countries which had passed through a period of divergence of views on many issues," the advisor said in a statement on Wednesday.  

Trump, an avid critic of Iran and the nuclear deal, has previously described the accord struck by his predecessor as "the worst deal ever".

His staunch anti-Iran stance has been greeted by Riyadh, with the Saudi monarch King Salman bin Abdulaziz having been one of the first world leaders to contact Trump following his presidential inauguration.