King names son as U.S. en­voy as ties boosted with Trump

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - THE WORLD

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.

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