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The New Arab & agencies

Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit White House on 20 March

Bin Salman has a close relationship with Trump. [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 March, 2018

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Bin Salman has a close relationship with Trump and his son-in-law aide Jared Kushner, who is seen as having given the green light for Prince Mohammed's recent power grab.

US President Donald Trump will host Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on 20 March, the White House announced on Monday.

The hugely influential Saudi prince is visiting Egypt, Britain and the United States as part of a long foreign trip, his first as crown prince.

"The president looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen ties between the United States and SaudiArabia," spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in announcing the meeting.

Bin Salman has a close relationship with Trump and his son-in-law aide Jared Kushner, who is seen as having given the green light for Prince Mohammed's rush to consolidate power in recent months.

Critics have labelled the crown prince's campaign a shakedown and power grab, although authorities insist the purge targeted endemic corruption as the country prepares for a post-oil era.

According to a New York Times investigation published Monday, prominent Saudis held as part of the crackdown were subjected to coercion, torture and physical abuse - with reports of one death due to suspected torture.

The Saudi government rejected the allegations as "completely untrue."

Bin Salman is the chief architect of Saudi Arabia's devastating two-year war in Yemen, which has killed more than 10,000 civilians.

The crown prince has wooed the West by promising a more open society, one which allows women to drive and relaxes rules on music.

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