Mohammed Bin Salman says it’s normal for friends to disagree after Trump criticised Saudi Arabia at a rally in the US.
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 wouldn’t 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 the 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.”
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’,” Trump said.
It was not the first time that Trump had criticised Saudi Arabia over the issue. As early as 2015, Trump said Saudi Arabia should pay more if it wants US protection.
If Saudi Arabia, which has been making one billion dollars a day from oil, wants our help and protection, they must pay dearly! NO FREEBIES.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2015
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.
“Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defence,” Trump said at the time.
Trump also hit out at Washington’s NATO partners at a May summit in Brussels, lamenting that “23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defence.”