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Saudi crown prince says Houthi missile attack was ‘last-ditch effort’

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NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has told the New York Times that the seven missiles launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militia at Saudi Arabian cities from Yemen on Sunday was “a last-ditch effort” that only showed their growing weakness.
The crown prince also added that Saudi Arabia was seeking an end to the war through a political process, as well as trying to divide the Houthis by maintaining military pressure on them.
Mohammed bin Salman said, in the interview published by New York Times on Tuesday, that the Houthis who took over the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2014 were increasingly isolated politically.
Other topics discussed in the article included his plans for economic and social changes in Saudi Arabia as well as his views on the Kingdom’s conflicts with Iran and Qatar.
Crown Prince Mohammed accused Iran of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons so that it could create chaos in the Middle East without fear of retribution.
“We know the target of Iran,” he said. “If they have a nuclear weapon, it’s a shield for them to let them do whatever they want in the Middle East, to make sure that no one attacks them or they will use their nuclear weapons.”
“Delaying it and watching them getting that bomb, that means you are waiting for the bullet to reach your head,” Crown Prince Mohammed said during his first meeting with editors and reporters from New York Times. “So you have to move from today.”
The US and other world powers reached a 2015 agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. However, some American officials, including President Trump, have criticized the agreement and threatened to repeal it.
Mohammed bin Salman also spoke about Saudi Arabian efforts to combat extremism in the Middle East, saying that he believed Islam had been “hijacked,” and criticizing the way he said that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist organizations like Daesh and Al-Qaeda had distorted the religion.
The crown prince is on an extensive tour of the US, and having visited Washington and New York, he will also make trips to Silicon Valley and Houston. His trip is aimed at strengthening ties between Saudi Arabia and the US.
The New York Times interview was published as the Saudi-US CEO Forum began in New York.
The forum was attended by influential economic figures such as Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, and Adena Friedman, CEO and president of NASDAQ.
It brings together the business elite from the US and the Kingdom for a day of formal presentations, panel discussions, and trade and cultural shows.
During the event, Saudi Arabian and American companies signed 36 memorandums of understanding for deals worth $20 billion.
Meanwhile, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group, was hosting an event for the crown prince.
During his last day in New York, Crown Prince Mohammed met with technology companies.Original Article

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