Trump rolls out welcome mat for Saudi crown prince's visit to US

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Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman opened a marathon tour of the United States on Tuesday by soaking in praise from US President Donald Trump, who championed close economic ties and increased military sales to the Saudis as he hosted the young heir to the throne in the Oval Office.

"Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy nation, and they're going to give the United States some of that wealth, hopefully in the form of jobs, in the form of the purchase of the finest military equipment anywhere in the world", Trump said. Lotta bad things are happening in Iran.

Breaking the traditional protocol US President Donald Trump will receive the Crown Prince Salman at the White House. The two countries are developing an increasingly close partnership, encompassing everything from isolating Iran to bolstering business ties beyond energy into technology, defense and entertainment, according to top USA and Saudi officials.

Relations with the United States "are at an all-time high", Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said at a news conference on the eve of the White House talks.

Just as Trump followed his time in Riyadh with stops in Israel, Italy and Belgium, the crown prince will spend more than two weeks talking to members of Congress and meeting Americans in Boston, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston.

The two have fostered a close relationship for months, White House officials tell CNN, but, to date, it is Prince bin Salman - known more informally as MBS - who has taken his charge and looked to remake the country he will likely someday lead.

Also high on the agenda in the White House talks was confronting Iran, a country Trump has repeatedly criticized for its expansionist policies in the Middle East.

Mohammed spoke to CBS' Norah O'Donnell about Saudi Arabia before 1979 when Saudi women worked, drove cars and enjoyed freedoms.

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Mr Trump also referred to a visit later this year by Saudi Arabia's King Salman. Trump will emphasize the importance of a strong and unified Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members include both Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

"We know today the relation produced more than 4 million jobs directly and indirectly" the crown prince said.

"Your father made a very wise decision", Trump said. The Saudi leader will also meet Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Labor Secretary Wilbur Ross, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, Trump's pick to replace Tillerson.

An editorial published by CNBC characterized the trip in more critical terms, calling it a "shopping trip for war" and part of an effort by Saudi Arabia to acquire buy-in from its American allies as Salman pursues further escalation with a country that is already on the opposing side of a series of proxy wars in the region.

Since then, presidents George W. Bush, Obama and now Trump have relied on the order's authority, along with a subsequent AUMF in 2002, as the basis for operations against armed Islamist groups.

Saudi Arabia was the president's first overseas trip.

The political and investment news may help the crown prince distance himself from controversy following his decision to detain dozens of princes and members of the kingdom's business elite late previous year in what the government claimed was a crackdown on corruption.

Although the USA has welcomed MBS's determination to purge pervasive corruption in Saudi Arabia, including by royals, the Trump administration hasn't endorsed his tactics.