Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on 22 April 2017 issued a royal decree stating the appointment of one of his sons Prince Khaled bin Salman bin Abdulaziz as the Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States (US). Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki was removed as Ambassador to the US.
The appointment of Prince Khaled to Washington signals the Saudi kingdom’s eagerness to strengthen bilateral ties with US under President Donald Trump.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia is the world’s third largest defence spender. Prince Khaled’s appointment positions him as an influential broker in deals with US manufacturers.
About Prince Khaled
• King Salman's son Prince Khaled is a former F-15 pilot, who graduated in military-aviation training from Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi in 2009.
• He took part in anti- Islamic State strikes in 2014 as part of the US-led coalition.
• He also participated in flight missions over Yemen, where the kingdom has been bombing a Yemeni faction aligned with Iran for more than two years.
• After studying briefly at Harvard University and Georgetown University, he got training at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
The US and Saudi Arabia have a decades-old relationship based on the exchange of American security for Saudi oil.
However, ties between Sunni-ruled Riyadh and Washington had cooled under Barack Obama administration after Washington pursued a nuclear accord with Shia-ruled Iran that the kingdom strongly opposed. Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional rivals and opposing sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.
These relations revived back since the day Donald Trump took office as US President. The relations are expected to prosper furthermore with such strategic appointments.
What: Appointed as US Envoy
When: 22 April 2017