Remarks by Secretary Mattis and Minister of Defense Salman in Saudi Arabia

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis; Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell; Saudi Arabian Minister of Defense Muhammad Bin Salman


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SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JIM MATTIS: ... the message we need to send to North Korea.

TRANSLATOR FOR MIN. SALMAN:  This message has arrived.

And he has another comment:  And when you mentioned the supreme leader to His Majesty, and that you wish to have a more moderate supreme leader, His Majesty is saying this is as if you were hoping to have the son of (inaudible) to be more moderate.

SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, probably.  That's exactly.  But -- it was an excellent meeting.  Just a very open, honest.  Good meeting.  Good meeting, like last night, the dinner.  Thank you, again.

MINISTER OF DEFENSE MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR):  I thank you, Mr. Secretary.  The meeting was outstanding.

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MIN. SALMAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR):  I welcome you, Mr. Secretary, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I thank you that you have selected Saudi Arabia as your first stop in your first visit to the region.  And this tour to the region -- this affirms the cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States in dealing with all issues.

We will work today in order to curb and counter all the challenges in the region, either when it comes to fighting terrorist organizations or the malign activities of Iran that continues to unsettle the world.

And we will continue to work together in order to bring stability and security to the region and to the most important straits.

We greatly value the leadership of President Trump.  And we have great trust in your leadership of the defense -- the Pentagon in the United States.

And we believe that we will overcome all the challenges if we cooperate together.

And I would like to welcome you again.

SEC. MATTIS:  Your Royal Highness, thank you for the welcome.

Like you said, with a spirit of cooperation, we can overcome any past frustrations, we can overcome future challenges.  I think that what is important today is that we identify practical steps as we take this relationship forward.

We have both spoken, His Majesty has talked to President Trump.  We have come to conclusions about our cooperation for the future.  And now that we have the blessing of our leadership, it's important we actually do something with it -- we actually do something as we reinforce Saudi Arabia's resistance to Iran's mischief and make you more effective with your military as we work together as partners.

We are not leaving this region, but at the same time, it is in our interest to see a strong Saudi Arabia military security service and secret services.

So what we can do here today could actually open the door, possibly, to bringing our president to Saudi Arabia.  And as a student of history, I keep a picture of the king of Saudi Arabia and FDR at Bitter Lake to remind me that it didn't start with me, and if you and I do our responsibilities correctly, it will not end with us.  It will continue through any frustrations, through any differences we still share more.

I would like to ask my colleague, because Ms. Dina represents directly from the White House, to just say a couple of words before we go into detail.

DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR DINA POWELL:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Your Royal Highness, it's a privilege to be back in the kingdom.  And we had such a warm visit with His Majesty.  I wanted to tell you that I was deeply honored that Secretary Mattis invited me to accompany him on this trip.

You heard yesterday that you knew his call sign.  We actually have a call sign for him in the White House: -- (inaudible) -- "Favorite of the President."  (Laughter.)

But before we left, the president and the secretary had a long meeting, and the president was so pleased that the secretary was coming to follow up on his wonderful visit to -- (inaudible) -- in Washington.  And the president was eager that we really get down to the details, and no one is more detailed, of course, than his excellency, Dr. Musaed.  He has been trying to get us a granular --

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