Tillerson: Centerpiece of Trump’s Saudi visit is to curb Iran
On the first day of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that its centerpiece was to curb any threats to the region posed by Iran. He said that the military and private sector deals agreed to by both sides send a "strong message to our common enemies."
In a joint address with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Al-Jubayr, Tillerson hailed a “historic moment” in US-Saudi relations. Announced hours earlier were a $109 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and $350 billion in direct U.S. investment over 10 years. He said the new defense deal — which includes upgrades to Saudi communications, missile defense, maritime, border and cyber security — lowers the demands on the US military. “We have to defeat ISIS on the battlefield, but we really have to defeat ISIS in cyberspace,” he also said.
Al-Jubeir borrowed a Trump phrase when he said stronger US ties will allow the region to "drain the swamps from which extremism and terrorism emanates." Tillerson called upon just elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to end all support and financing for terrorists and ballistic missile testing.
Enjoying a royal welcome through the day, Trump was seen swaying briefly with King Salman in a traditional sword dance outside the King Abdulaziz Historical Cente before a state dinner hosted by the Saudi king and senior princes that was also attended by First Lady Melania and Ivanka and Jared Kushner.