Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has praised the kingdom’s relationship with the current US administration just days after President Donald Trump warned that the Middle East country would not survive “two weeks” without US support.
“I love working with him (Trump),” the crown-prince told the US-based Bloomberg publication, adding that the two leaders had “achieved a lot in the Middle East, especially against extremism, extremist ideologies, terrorism and Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant)”.
The 33-year-old said it was normal for allies to have disagreements and one must ultimately accept that “any friend will say good things and bad things”.
“So, you cannot have 100 percent friends saying good things about you, even in your family. You will have misunderstandings. So, we put that in that category.”
In his interview with Bloomberg, Bin Salman specifically underscored that Riyadh “will pay nothing” to Washington for Saudi Arabia’s security, adding that “all the armaments we have from the United States of America are paid for, it’s not free armament.”
“Ever since the relationship started between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, we’ve bought everything with money,” he said.
He also noted that Saudi Arabia had existed decades before the US and that it will need “something like around 2,000 years to maybe face some dangers.”
At a Mississippi campaign rally on Wednesday, Trump took a jab at Riyadh and said the country would not last “two weeks” if Washington withdrew its military support.
“We protect Saudi Arabia. Would you say they’re rich? And I love the king, King Salman. But I said ‘King – we’re protecting you – you might not be there for two weeks without us— you have to pay for your military ‘,” Trump said.
Trump’s criticisms have not been limited to Saudi Arabia alone. In his speech to the UN General Assembly, the US president in a similar vein cautioned other unnamed countries against taking advantage of the United States.