After a week in Washington, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince is heading west to meet with technology executives in Silicon Valley and then to New York to pitch his nation’s new economic plan to Wall Street investors.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to discuss how Saudi Arabia can benefit from innovations spawned in California and then talk with New York investors about opportunities, including with the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co, according to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. The kingdom plans an initial public offering of the world’s largest oil company, known as Saudi Aramco, which the prince expects to be valued at more than $2tn.
The prince, who’s the son of King Salman, is leading Saudi Arabia’s biggest-ever economic shakeup, moving to cut subsidies and diversify the economy away from oil by generating an extra $100bn in non-oil revenue by 2020.
In Washington, he discussed economic and business issues with Treasury Secretary Jacob J Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients, US Chamber of Commerce officials and executives from US companies.
He also discussed sensitive defence and foreign policy issues with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Ash Carter, and visited the CIA to meet with Director John Brennan.
In the Oval Office on Friday, Prince Mohammed and Obama discussed conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen as well as Iran’s “destabilising” activities in the region, the White House said in a statement.
“I would describe the meetings as very, very positive,” al-Jubeir told reporters at the Saudi Embassy in Washington. The aim was to “exchange views and ideas on issues of the day on challenges that our two countries face in the region and the world,” he said.
On the kingdom’s economic plans, “people in the US were very pleased with it and very supportive of it - the scope of it and breadth of it - and look forward to working with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the implementation of it,” al-Jubeir said. He said the country’s relationship with the US will remain strong regardless of who becomes president next year. “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US is bipartisan,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House, this relationship will go on.”
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