Posts Tagged ‘Adel al-Jubeir’

We’re not a banana republic, Saudi FM tells Canada

September 27, 2018

Saudi Arabia tells Canada the issue is national security and not human rights…

Canada’s leadership was “playing into the hands of extremists” when it tried to pressure Saudi Arabia into releasing some people being held for serious crimes, the Kingdom’s foreign minister has said.

Speaking during a multi-topic discussion at a forum of the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank in New York on Wednesday, Adel Al-Jubeir said Canada had all the right to criticize Saudi Arabia about human rights or women rights, but it went overboard in “demanding” the “immediate release” of certain detainees.

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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir. UN Photo/Cia Pak

“What are we a banana republic? Would any country accept this? No, we don’t. If you do this, you play into the hands of the extremists who are opposing our reform process,” Al-Jubeir said.

Stung by Canada’s insolence, Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh early last month, recalled its own ambassador from Ottawa, and froze all new business and investment transactions with the North American nation.

Riyadh has also said it was moving all Saudi scholarship students out of Canada, unless Ottawa apologizes.

In response, Canadian Minister of Global Affairs Chrystia Freeland has insisted that the issue was about human rights.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. (Reuters)

During the forum on Wednesday, Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia’s stand remained unchanged considering that Canada has not backed down.

“We did not do this, you did. Fix it. You owe us an apology. Apologize, say you made a mistake,” he said.

“In Canada we became a political football. Find another ball to play with, not Saudi Arabia.” Al-Jubeir added.

He explained that the detainees that the Canadian government had been lobbying for were facing charges of espionage.

He said the Canadian ambassador met the Saudi public prosecutor, who explained to him the charges are not about rights but about national security.

“These were individuals who were accused of taking money from governments, accused of recruiting people to obtain sensitive information from the government and passing it on to hostile powers, accused of raising money and providing it to people who are hostile to Saudi Arabia outside of Saudi Arabia. Some of them were released, others will go to trial and the evidence will be revealed to the world.

The Canadians knew that this was not about rights. And for a Tweet to come out in this manner from our perspective is outrageous,” Al-Jubeir explained.

Arab News


Canada in talks over potential meeting with Saudis to discuss diplomatic rift

September 25, 2018

Talks between Freeland, Saudi counterpart could be first step to restoring relations

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland may meet with her Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, this week, in an effort to draw down the diplomatic dispute between the two countries. (Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press)

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is in talks to meet with her counterpart from Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, CBC News has learned.

The goal of the meeting would be to begin to mend fences between the two countries after an explosive dispute this summer following Canadian criticism of the kingdom’s arrests of human rights activists.

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Adel al-Jubeir

Ottawa called for the release of Samar Badawi, the sister of well-known detainee Raif Badawi, on Aug. 2, and the sister-in-law of a Canadian citizen.

Saudi Arabia responded with a string of harsh measures that included telling thousands of Saudi students on government scholarships to leave Canadian universities and relocate to other countries, a ban on Saudi flights to Canada, and orders to brokers and bankers to suspend transactions with Canadian entities.

The kingdom also declared the Canadian ambassador persona non grata and gave him 24 hours to leave the country. He has not returned.

Neither the aging and infirm King Salman, nor his son and the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, plan to speak at the UN General Assembly.

Instead, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir is in New York.

It was Jubeir who spoke for Saudi Arabia at the height of the dispute with Canada, holding a news conference where he appeared to lecture Canada on its responsibility to defuse tensions.

“Canada knows what it needs to do,” he said. “Canada started this, and it’s up to Canada to find a way out of it.”

Saudis partially relent

But Canada did not back down, and instead the Saudi side appear to have quietly dropped at least one of their more extreme (and expensive) measures.

After ordering medical students and interns to leave Canada by Aug. 31, Saudi authorities relented just days before the deadline, telling students they could continue at their posts for the time being.

But the reprieve only helped about 1,000 Saudi medical students. At least 7,000 non-medical Saudi students were forced to interrupt their studies. Some chose to file asylum claims in Canada rather than obey orders to return home.

Also, a major pending contract for Saudi Arabia to buy light armoured vehicles from General Dynamics Canada survived the dispute.

CBC News recently reported that Saudi Arabia had reduced the size of that order. but that reduction had occurred more than a year before the latest dispute.

Timing an issue

Both Canada and Saudi Arabia have chosen to allow their foreign ministers, rather than heads of state or heads of government, to deliver their country’s addresses to the General Assembly.

Under UN protocol that means they must wait until later in the week to speak. Freeland speaks on Saturday morning. Jubeir is the last to speak in the whole week, on Saturday afternoon.

So if a meeting can be arranged, it could well occur in the latter half of the week.

The spat with Canada generated headlines around the world and was widely seen as a sign of the impetuous and aggressive style of the new crown prince, known to many Saudis by his initials MBS.

The government of Canada has sought to defuse tensions with Saudi Arabia, but has said it will not apologize for its stance.

Al-Jubeir: Saudi Arabia to engage with Russia to support Syria political solution — “This abscess needs to be liquidated.

August 30, 2018

Saudi Arabia has stressed to Russia the need for a political solution to the Syria conflict, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Adel Al-Jubeir said they had held talks on a range of issues in the Middle East.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) speaks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir during their meeting in Moscow on Wednesday. (AFP)

Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom had highlighted the importance of implementing the UN Security Council resolution adopted in 2015 that called for a ceasefire and a political settlement in the country, where war has been raging for seven years.

He said there needed to be a political solution that “preserves Syria’s territorial integrity, security, and stability as well as the safety of citizens regardless of their religion or race.”

Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦


| FM @AdelAljubeir and Russia’s FM Sergey hold a joint press conference

Saudi Arabia, along with western and other Arab countries have backed the main rebel forces in Syria against President Bashar Assad. Russia, however, has been one of the biggest supporters of the regime, providing military support which enabled Al-Assad to gain the upper hand in the conflict.

Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia would “cooperate with the Syrian opposition to close ranks regarding the future of Syria.”

“We will also engage with our brothers in Russia in supporting the political process,” Al-Jubeir added.

The meeting between the two ministers comes as the countries seek to improve economic and political ties.

Relations have witnessed a “quantum leap in the past three years in the fields of trade, security, counterterrorism and political coordination in the challenges facing the region and the world,” Al-Jubeir said

On the war in Yemen, he said Saudi Arabia had consulted with Russia and other friends on the situation and highlighted the importance of reaching a political solution.

He said Saudi Arabia believed the Iran nuclear deal with world powers, including Russia, was weak, “particularly with regard to the time period that prevents Iran from enriching uranium.”

He added that it did not include Iran’s support for terrorism and violation of UN resolutions on ballistic missiles.

Lavrov said he had agreed on plans with Al-Jubeir for a visit of Vladimir Putin to Saudi Arabia.

The foreign ministers’ meeting comes amid speculation that Syrian forces backed by Russia and Iran are preparing for an offensive to retake one of the last rebel strongholds.

Lavrov called on the West not to stand in the way of an “anti-terror operation” in Idlib province.

Lavrov also said that there is “full political understanding” between Russia and Turkey, which supports the rebels, but they are currently in intense negotiations to ensure Idlib does not become a breaking point in their alliance.

“It is necessary to disassociate the so-called moderate opposition from terrorists and at the same time prepare an operation against them while minimising risks for the civilian population,” Lavrov said.

“This abscess needs to be liquidated.”

Arab news

Efforts to hinder Saudi-UAE plan to invade Qatar cost Rex Tillerson his job, report says

August 2, 2018

Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson managed to prevent a join plan by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to invade Qatar, which caused him to be suddenly removed from his post, the Intercept news organization reported Wednesday.

According to the piece published on the news portal, Saudi Arabia and the UAE lobbied the hardest for the top diplomat’s removal, angered by Tillerson’s efforts to end the blockade against Qatar and reconciliation in the Gulf.

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) and Saudi King Salman speak before their meeting, October 22, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Speaking to the Intercept on the condition of anonymity, one current U.S. intelligence community member and two former State Department officials said that Tillerson “intervened to stop a secret, Saudi-led, UAE-backed plan to invade and essentially conquer” the peninsula.

The ex-CEO of Exxon Mobil also urged Saudi King Salman, then-Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir “not to attack the country or otherwise escalate hostilities,” the Intercept quoted the sources as saying.

According to the sources, Tillerson’s efforts helped contain the stringent efforts of the crown prince, and he backed down. On the other hand, Tillerson’s work “enraged” the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed.

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Adel al-Jubeir

The invasion plan foresaw Saudi troops, militarily backed by the UAE, crossing the land border into Qatar and advancing approximately 110 kilometers (68 miles) toward Doha. “Circumventing the U.S. air base, Saudi forces would then seize the capital,” the Intercept added in the piece.

According to the U.S. intelligence official the website quoted, Qatari intelligence agents working undercover inside Saudi Arabia discovered the plan early in the summer of 2017. The Intercept added that Tillerson acted after the Qatari government informed him and the U.S. embassy in Doha.

The piece also claimed that the intelligence reporting by the U.S. and U.K. confirmed the existence of the plan.

Saudi Arabia ‘to seek nuclear weapon’ if Iran resumes program — Tehran’s actions like a ‘declaration of war’ after attempted Houthi missile attack on Riyadh

May 10, 2018

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir says Tehran’s actions like a ‘declaration of war’ after attempted Houthi missile attack on Riyadh

Saudi Arabia will seek to develop its own nuclear weapons if Iran does, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN on Wednesday. (SPA)

Iran’s actions amount to a “declaration of war,” the Saudi foreign minister warned on Wednesday, after two ballistic missiles were fired toward Riyadh by Tehran-backed Houthi militias.

Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking to CNN, said Saudi Arabia would seek to develop its own nuclear weapons capacity should Iran do the same.

He was speaking the day after US President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 deal that seeks to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain praised the decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia would “build a bomb itself” if Iran resumes its nuclear weapons program, Al-Jubeir said: “If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same.”

Two ballistic missiles were fired at the Saudi capital Riyadh on Wednesday, according to the coalition battling Houthis in neighboring Yemen, which claimed the attempted attack.

“These missiles are Iranian manufactured and delivered to the Houthis. Such behavior is unacceptable. It violates UN Resolutions with regards to ballistic missiles. And the Iranians must be held accountable for this,” Al-Jubeir told CNN.

“We will find the right way and at the right time to respond to this … We are trying to avoid at all costs direct military action with Iran, but Iran’s behavior such as this cannot continue. This amounts to a declaration of war.”

Iran witnessed public protests around the New Year, with some angered by the country’s financial support for foreign groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, amid economic problems at home.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist, said that the reimposition of sanctions on Iran would likely make it more challenging for Iran to “hemorrhage billions of dollars” on proxies like Hezbollah and the Houthis.

But he added that supporting such groups would remain a priority for Iran. “Even before the nuclear deal when the Iran regime was crippled with multilateral and unilateral economic sanctions, Tehran still continued to support militias, proxies and terrorist groups,” Rafizadeh told Arab News.

“The Iranian regime will more likely cut social welfare on its own citizens in order to afford supporting its proxies.”

Phillip Smyth, Soref fellow at The Washington Institute, said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Quds Force have “secure sources” of funding. “If it appears (as has happened) that Iranians are not getting anything beneficial through the government, while the government continues its overseas/regional adventures, it certainly does not bode well for the government in Tehran,” he told Arab News.

Pompeo: Current nuclear agreement not enough to curb Iran’s ways

April 29, 2018

United States’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in Saudi Arabia said that the current nuclear agreement with Iran is “not enough.” “Iran has been acting worse since the signing of the nuclear deal,” Pompeo said.

United States’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a joint press conference on Sunday with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir in Riyadh that the current nuclear agreement with Iran is “not enough.” (AFP)

DUBAI: United States’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a joint press conference on Sunday with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir in Riyadh that the current nuclear agreement with Iran is “not enough” to curb its ways, Saudi state-news agency Al-Ekhbariya reported.

“Iran has been acting worse since the signing of the nuclear deal,” Pompeo said.

Meanwhile, Jubeir reiterated the need for more sanctions to be imposed on Iran due to its support for terrorism and missiles.

The two also discussed the need to find political solution in Yemen, as well as Saudi Arabia’s security being a US priority.


Pompeo starts Mideast tour with call for new Iran sanctions

April 29, 2018

Iranian ballistic missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia, Iran exporting aggressive military power to Lebanon and Syria, threats to Israel — “Enough is enough.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on a hastily-arranged visit to the Middle East as the United States aims to muster support for new sanctions against Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was met by the Saudi foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, upon his arrival in Riyadh. Credit Saudi Press Agency, via Reuters


The visit to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Amman just two days after Pompeo was sworn-in comes as President Donald Trump is set to decide whether to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that is still supported by European powers.

“We are urging nations around the world to sanction any individuals and entities associated with Iran’s missile program, and it has also been a big part of discussions with Europeans,” Brian Hook, a senior policy advisor traveling with Pompeo, told reporters.

Hook said a salvo of ballistic missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi movement that killed a man earlier on Saturday had been provided by Tehran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, in Brussels on Friday. “I was sworn in yesterday afternoon, I hopped straight on a plane and came straight here,” Mr. Pompeo said. CreditPool photo by Virginia Mayo

“Iran’s missiles prolong war and suffering in the Middle East, they threaten our security and economic interests and they especially threaten Saudi Arabia and Israel,” he said.

The 2015 deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief does not cover its missile program.

Trump has called it the “worst deal ever” and threatened to re-impose sanctions unless Britain, France and Germany agree to fix it. Resuming sanctions would likely kill the deal.

Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France, which all struck the accord with Iran and the United States, see the deal as the best way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

Speaking after a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Friday, Pompeo said Trump had not taken a decision on whether to abandon the deal but was not likely to stick to it without substantial changes.

“There’s been no decision, so the team is working and I am sure we will have lots of conversations to deliver what the president has made clear,” Pompeo told a news conference.

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 28, 2018. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Earlier this week French President Emmanuel Macron called on Trump not to abandon the deal, although he later acknowledged he thought he would pull out.

The Trump administration is also currently reviewing the U.S. role in fighting Islamic State in Syria’s seven-year conflict. Trump has called on Gulf countries to provide funding and troops to stabilize areas once controlled by the group in Syria.

Pompeo was one of the first Trump administration officials to visit Saudi Arabia early in his tenure as CIA director.

In Riyadh, Pompeo was greeted on the tarmac by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. He is expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman during the visit.

Slideshow (2 Images)

(The story was refiled to fix a typo in the headline)

Editing By Noah Browning and Robin Pomeroy

See also:

Pompeo’s Message to Saudis? Enough Is Enough: Stop Qatar Blockade



Pompeo makes Middle East diplomatic debut from Saudi Arabia

April 29, 2018

New Secretary of  State has already been to European meetings of NATO…

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at his office in Riyadh on April 27, 2018. (SPA)


RIYADH: Washington’s newly appointed secretary of state landed in Riyadh Saturday on a tour of America’s key Middle East allies, after vowing to bring some “swagger” back to US diplomacy.

After attending NATO talks in Brussels, Mike Pompeo embarked on a three-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan to update friends on President Donald Trump’s plans for the Iran nuclear deal.

Pompeo was met on the tarmac in Riyadh by a sizeable Saudi Arabian delegation, including the kingdom’s foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, and US ambassador Khalid bin Salman — brother of the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Trump is widely expected to pull the United States out of the Iran accord next month, re-imposing sanctions against Tehran’s nuclear program. Pompeo insists the president has not yet made the decision.

The former CIA chief, who was sworn in as Trump’s top diplomat on Thursday and set off within two hours for Brussels, will consult with leaders of Iran’s main regional opponents ahead of the announcement.

But he also has a second more personal mission, to show foreign capitals and his own colleagues that US diplomacy is back on track after the troubled reign of his sacked predecessor Rex Tillerson.

Trump’s first secretary of state, a former oil executive, failed to fill senior positions, embarked on unpopular bureaucratic reforms and had conspicuously little chemistry with the president.

Pompeo — a former army officer, businessman and conservative congressman — wanted to set off on the road immediately on being sworn in, in order to reach out to NATO and Middle East allies.

But he has promised to address State Department staff in Washington on his return on Tuesday, and was full of praise for the staff who scrambled to put together his first foreign itinerary.

“I just met with a great group of State Department officers who work here at the mission. They may have been demoralized, but they seemed in good spirits,” he said Friday, at NATO headquarters.

“They are hopeful that the State Department will get its swagger back, that we will be out doing the things that they came onboard at the State Department to do,” he promised.

“To be professional, to deliver diplomacy — American diplomacy — around the world, that’s my mission set, to build that esprit and get the team on the field so that we can effectuate American diplomacy.”

The former Kansas politician is seen as an anti-Iran hawk with hard-line views about projecting US military might, and his socially conservative opinions might be out of place at the State Department.

In Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Pompeo is due to hold talks with Jubeir in Riyadh, before having dinner with Prince Mohammed, who has strengthened his ties to Washington since being appointed in June.

Trump also wants Riyadh to do more and spend more to support the US-led operation in Syria to defeat the Daesh group and allow American forces to come home more quickly.

After Saudi Arabia, Pompeo is due to fly on to Israel for talks with staunch US ally Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then to Jordan, a friend with a long border with war-torn Syria.

Qatari emir not attending Arab summit in Saudi Arabia

April 15, 2018


DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Qatar will not be represented by a senior official at an Arab summit taking place in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, in a sign that a nearly year-old dispute between Gulf Arab neighbours is still a long way from being resolved.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges and says the boycott is an attempt to impinge on its sovereignty.

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 Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani

The Qatari delegation will be headed by Doha’s permanent representative to the Arab League, Saif bin Muqaddam al-Buainain, the state news agency said without elaborating.

Most of the 22 other countries are represented by heads of state or government. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani headed Qatar’s delegation at last year’s Arab summit in Jordan.

Sheikh Tamim returned to Doha on Saturday from a U.S. trip where he met President Donald Trump, who had publicly sided with the Saudis and Emiratis early in the crisis, but is now pushing for a resolution to restore Gulf Arab unity and maintain a united front against Iran.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Thursday that Qatar’s crisis would not be on the table at the Arab League summit, Al Arabiya reported.

Ahead of the summit, the four boycotting nations reaffirmed that their demands on Qatar — including closing Al Jazeera television station and reducing ties with Iran — were “a necessary basis” for a resolution to the crisis.

Reporting By Sarah Dadouch and Stephen Kalin; Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Ghaida Ghantous and Jane Merriman

Trump to Greet Visiting Saudi Prince with a Crowded Agenda

March 20, 2018

Both countries touting this week’s meetings as reflection of growing ties between Washington and Riyadh.

President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman shaking hands last year in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman shaking hands last year in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC. PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is expected to meet Tuesday with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office, where the two leaders are likely to focus on combating Iran’s influence in the Middle East and strengthening ties between their two countries.

Mr. Trump has made relations with the ambitious 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne a cornerstone of his Middle East strategy and visited the kingdom last spring on the first stop of his first overseas trip as president.

For Prince Mohammed, who arrived in Washington, D.C. overnight, the visit is an opportunity to affirm his role as a ruler the U.S. can count on to advance shared goals like curbing Iran’s influence in the Arab world—and to pitch Saudi Arabia as a business destination.

But the deepening ties between the two countries face a number of challenges, including Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been killed by the country’s airstrikes.

The Senate could vote as soon as Tuesday on a bipartisan resolution that seeks to cut offU.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, which is aimed at fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels. The debate could cast a cloud over Prince Mohammed’s Washington visit.

But both countries are touting this week’s meetings as a reflection of the growing ties between Washington and Riyadh.

“Relations with the United States are at an all-time high,” Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister told reporters in Washington on Monday.

During his visit, Prince Mohammed will meet with top Trump administration officials and key congressional leaders eager to hear more about his plans for the kingdom.

Prince Mohammed emerged as the kingdom’s top decision maker after his father, King Salman, assumed the throne three years ago. Since then, the Saudi royal has overseen an ambitious domestic reform plan aimed at diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy away from oil and at liberalizing its ultraconservative society.

This is his first trip to the U.S. since he became heir to the throne in June, an episode that ushered in a period of chaos in the kingdom. In November, the crown prince directed a far-reaching corruption crackdown that targeted hundreds of people–among them princes, officials and prominent businessmen–rattling the royal family and spooking global investors. Many of the accused were released after reaching undisclosed cash settlements with the government.

Reassuring the business community and strengthening economic ties is a key goal of the Saudi royal’s nearly three-week U.S. tour.

The U.S. is hoping to secure up to $35 billion in new business deals with Saudi Arabia as Prince Mohammed travels to New York, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Seattle and Houston to discuss new ventures. Meetings with executives from Google, Apple and Lockheed Martin are among those on the agenda. U.S. and Saudi officials are expected to follow up on the status of possible business deals worth hundreds of billions–including $100 billion in arms sales alone–that were touted by both countries during Mr. Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last year.

The U.S. also sees Prince Mohammed as a key ally to accomplish its top foreign policy goal bridging differences between Israel and the Palestinians. Jared Kushner, whom the president has charged with restarting the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, views Prince Mohammed as an ally who can influence the Palestinians and bring them to the table.

U.S. officials also are also trying to forge a deal to end a regional crisis pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia and its allies in hopes of reuniting the Gulf nations in an important regional alliance. But Saudi officials have indicated this is not a priority for them, rejecting Washington’s mediation.

The U.S. praised Saudi Arabia on Monday for stepping up its humanitarian efforts in Yemen, but human rights groups say the measures don’t go far enough.

Mr. Jubeir dismissed critics who say his country is unnecessarily killing civilians and stoking a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

“I don’t see it as a quagmire,” he said.

A big focus of Prince Mohammed’s trip will be to try to fix Saudi Arabia’s image problem that never fully recovered from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which were carried out by mostly Saudi citizens. During his time in the U.S., Prince Mohammed can point to the steps his government has taken to curb the influence of Islamic hardliners and to loosen the kingdom’s strict social rules, such as the upcoming lifting of the ban on women driving.

“Forget about the old Saudi Arabia. Now he’s presenting the new country,” said Abdullah al Shammari, an academic and former senior Saudi diplomat. “We are brave enough to admit that we made mistakes, we tried our best to correct what we did before and we need you to understand that what is happening is important for Saudi Arabia, for the region and for the future.”

Write to Dion Nissenbaum at and Margherita Stancati at