US President Trump welcomed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the White House, for their first face-to-face meeting.
Crown Prince Al-Nahyan is a “very special person, highly respected”, Trump said during a brief photo opportunity in the Oval Office on Monday.
“And loves his country, I can tell you that, loves his country. And I think loves the United States, which to us is very important,” USA Today quoted the President as saying.
The two leaders spoke about “regional security matters,” trade and bilateral investments, as well as about the defence cooperation agreement between the two countries, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily press briefing.
The Pentagon announced a week ago that the sale of 160 Patriot missiles to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had been approved at an estimated cost of $2 billion, the aim of which is to fortify the Arab nation’s defence ability.
The meeting came four days before Trump begins his first international trip, which first will take him to Saudi Arabia where the President wants to encourage Washington’s Arab and Muslim partners to take new and bold steps to promote peace in the region, according to National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
Despite Trump’s anti-Muslim discourse during his election campaign and his signing of two executive orders blocking US entry to refugees and citizens from several Muslim majority nations – although those orders were blocked by US courts – the White House has insisted that the measures are not designed to persecute those who profess the Muslim faith.
Trump is also slated meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.