DONALD Trump praised his “friend” the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman in a meeting at the G20 summit today.
But the US President did not respond to questions from reporters about whether he would confront the prince about the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump praised his ‘friend’ the Saudi Crown Prince at a G20 meeting today[/caption]
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman met the US President over breakfast[/caption]
Trump did not respond to questions from reporters about whether he would confront the prince about the Khashoggi murder[/caption]
A UN expert has called for an investigation into Mohammed’s alleged involvement in the killing at the Saudi consulate in Turkey last year.
Lawmakers expressed outrage about the killing of the Washington Post columnist, who was a critic of Saudi leadership.
In a TV interview before he left Washington, Trump brushed off calls for further inquiry by saying Khashoggi’s death has been heavily investigated.
Trump and Mohammed met over breakfast on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
Lawmakers expressed outrage about the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi[/caption]
The US President said the Saudi promise to buy billions of US military equipment “means something to me.”
He added that Mohammed had done a “spectacular job” opening up the country with economic and social reforms.
“It’s an honour to be with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, a friend of mine – a man who has really done things in the last five years in terms of opening up Saudi Arabia,” Trump said.
“I think especially what you’ve done for women and seeing what’s happening – it’s like a revolution in a very positive way,” he added.
TENSIONS BETWEEN US AND SAUDI ARABIA
Tensions between the US and Saudi Arabia have simmered since last year’s killing of Khashoggi.
The Trump administration failed to meet a deadline to issue a report to Congress on who was responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
In a rebuke to Saudi leadership, the Senate last week voted to block Trump’s arms deal with the Kingdom, setting up a potential veto from the White House.
The House still needs to vote on the legislation, which involves more than $8 billion in total arms sales.
At the G20 summit in December last year, Emmanuel Macron was filmed telling the prince “you never listen to me” during a tense meeting.
The French President can be heard talking to Mohammed when the pair met in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
It is thought Macron is referring to the murder of Khashoggi.
MACRON ‘CONFRONTED’ PRINCE LAST YEAR
While a lot of the recording is inaudible, Macron can be heard saying: “I do worry. I am worried… I told you.”
The Saudi ruler is then heard to reply: “Yes, you told me. Thank you very much.”
In response, Macron says: “You never listen to me,” with the prince responding, “No, I listen, of course.”
Macron had called for international involvement in the investigation into Khahoggi’s killing in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.
While US intelligence agencies have concluded the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing this has been strongly denied by the Arab country.