Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has been praised by Donald Trump saying he was doing a “spectacular job” as the pair met on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Trump on Saturday told the powerful crown prince “You have done a spectacular job,” calling him a friend of mine”.
After the US-based dissident Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last year, the young royal was faced with international pressure
However, Trump did not respond to the question from the media about whether he would raise the journalist’s death during his working breakfast with the prince.
Riyadh has fired back against claims that Prince Mohammed is accountable in the murder of Khashoggi, who was killed and dismembered in what Saudi authorities have described as a rogue operation.
The “execution of Mr. Khashoggi was the responsibility of the state of Saudi Arabia”, says a UN expert report”, and that the crown prince must have been aware of attempts to cover up the crime after the fact, including a forensic cleaning of the consulate.
A formal criminal investigation was urged into the case.
In the trial, five of those blamed have been faced by the death penalty, the trial which was held secretly, with only a handful of diplomats allowed to attend.
Trump in his comment said he appreciated Saudi Arabia’s purchase of US military equipment and praising the crown prince for working to open up the country with economic reforms.
Donald Trump further praised the crown prince, who has moved to loosen some social restrictions in the kingdom but also cracked down on activists, including women pressing for the right to drive.
Trump said “It’s an honor to be with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia … a man who has really done things in the last five years in terms of opening up Saudi Arabia,”
“It’s like a revolution in a very positive way,” Trump said.