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Trump hails arms sales to Saudi as he hosts Crown Prince

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By Lesley Alexander
Trump hails arms sales to Saudi as he hosts Crown Prince
Copyright  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised American defence sales to Saudi Arabia, despite controversy over Riyadh's role in the war in Yemen.

Trump produced charts to illustrate the extent of Saudi purchases of US military hardware, as he hosted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House.

He hailed the military sales as a boost to American jobs.

"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 told reporters.

Also present at the meeting was Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and Middle East envoy, who has already forged close ties with the Saudi Crown Prince.

But as the talks took place, US senators were debating a resolution seeking an end to American support for Saudi Arabia's role in Yemen's civil war.

A Saudi-led coalition is fighting to counter the influence of Iran, an ally of the Houthi militia in Yemen, in a conflict with catastrophic consequences for civilians.

The Crown Prince has, however, won Western plaudits for seeking to ease Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil, tackle chronic corruption and reform the conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom.

He has consolidated power since becoming the heir apparent to succeed King Salman and, aged only 32, he could ultimately rule Saudi Arabia for many decades.

with Reuters