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Monday, January 30, 2017

Trump and Saudi King agree to fight terrorism

U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman spoke for over an hour by telephone on Sunday, agreeing to step up counter-terrorism and military cooperation and enhance economic relations, Reuters reported.

A senior Saudi source cited by the news agency had no word on whether the two leaders discussed Trump's executive order temporarily banning immigration from several Muslim countries.

The source said the call between the king and Trump "resulted in agreement on many important matters, including enhancing the participation of the two countries in fighting terrorism, extremism and its funding."

The leaders discussed heightening economic cooperation and said this could create more jobs in the two countries and boost exports, the source added, according to Reuters.

Both countries share views about Iranian policies in the region, the source noted, suggesting Trump agreed with Riyadh's suspicion of what it sees as Tehran's growing influence in the Arab world.

Saudi Arabia had a difference of opinions with former President Barack Obama with regard to the nuclear deal signed between Iran and six world powers.

Saudi Arabia and other major Sunni states expressed concern over a deal which would allow Iran to produce nuclear weapons – a position which placed them very close to Israel’s position on the matter.

Ultimately, however, Saudi Arabia's government announced that it welcomed the deal.
In addition, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief recently urged Trump not to scrap the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers but rather take the Islamic Republic to task for its “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.