The crown prince told Bloomberg’s Senior Executive Editor for Economics Stephanie Flanders and five other Bloomberg journalists on Wednesday that Trump’s demand that Riyadh pay up for the military support it receives was a misunderstanding that happens between friends.
“Well, you know, you have to accept that any friend will say good things and bad things. So you cannot have 100 percent of friends saying good things about you, even in your family,” he said.
Bin Salman also noted that the two-week timeframe was “not accurate,” as Saudi Arabia existed long before the United States of America was a country. “Saudi Arabia needs something like around 2,000 years to maybe face some dangers,” he quipped.
Saudi Arabia “will pay nothing” for its security, as all the arms it had purchased from the US for that purpose have been paid for, he noted. According to the Saudi armament strategy for the next 10 years, which was adopted after Trump became president, more than 60 percent of its arms are to be supplied by or manufactured in partnership with the United States.
“We’ve created $400 billion in opportunities, armaments and investment opportunities, and other trade opportunities. … Also included in these agreements are that part of these armaments will be manufactured in Saudi Arabia, so it will create jobs in America and Saudi Arabia, good trade, good benefits for both countries and also good economic growth,” the crown prince added.
“I love working with him [Trump]. I really like working with him, and we have achieved a lot in the Middle East, especially against extremism, extremist ideologies,” he said, mentioning the fight against Daesh forces in the Middle East.
Bin Salman also commented on Trump’s admonition to OPEC states that $80 a barrel is too high a price for oil. Saudi Arabia has never decided what a right or wrong price is, the crown prince said, only traded as the market decided.
“We work with our allies in OPEC and also non-OPEC countries to be sure that we have a sustainable supply of oil and there is no shortage and that there is good demand,” he noted, recalling that Trump asked Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries to ensure oil supplies lost due to sanctions on Iran would be covered, and Saudi Arabia agreed.