King names son as U.S. envoy as ties boosted with Trump
RIYADH | Saudi Arabian King Salman issued a decree late Saturday naming one of his sons, an air force pilot who has taken part in coalition strikes against the Islamic State, as the kingdom’s new ambassador to the U.S.
The appointment of Prince Khaled bin Salman to Washington signals the kingdom’s eagerness to strengthen bilateral ties under President Trump. As the king’s son, the prince has a direct line to the Saudi monarch.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s third largest defense spender. Prince Khaled’s appointment positions him as an influential broker in deals with U.S. manufacturers.
Saudi-U.S. relations had cooled under the Obama administration after Washington pursued a nuclear accord with Shiite-ruled Iran that the Sunniruled kingdom strongly opposed. Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional rivals, and back opposing sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.
Relations with Riyadh have improved since Mr. Trump took office. King Salman dispatched his most powerful son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also defense minister, to meet Mr. Trump at the White House last month.