Trump phones Saudi king to discuss Syria, Yemen 'safe-zones'

Trump phones Saudi king to discuss Syria, Yemen 'safe-zones'
The White House said on Sunday that Trump and King Salman discussed the issue by phone, also agreeing in principle to work together to combat Iran's "destabilising regional activities"
2 min read
30 January, 2017
Saudi Arabia is not included on a controversial travel ban enforced by Trump [Getty]

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman expressed support for US plans to establish safe zones in war-torn Syria and Yemen during a phone call with Donald Trump, the White House said in a statement on Sunday.

"The president requested and the King agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, as well as supporting other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts," the statement said.

It added that the two leaders had also discussed the importance of strengthening coordination to combat the threat posed by Islamic State militants, and Iran’s “destabilising regional activities”.

During his presidential campaign Trump called for the establishment of safe zones inside Syria to prevent migration from the region, calling on Gulf States to pay for their establishment.

Speaking on Wednesday Trump re-iterated this call saying that his administration would “absolutely do safe zones in Syria" stating that European states had made a “tremendous mistake” by allowing millions of refugees through their borders. 

Protests gathered on Sunday in several US cities in opposition to executive orders established this week by Trump banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. 

States included on the ban - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - have criticised the ruling. 

Saudi Arabia, in addition to the entirety of the Gulf - in which Trump is thought to have strong business interests - was not included in the travel ban, along with Turkey and Egypt - both of which endured high-profile terror attacks in 2016.