Saudi Arabia's powerful deputy crown prince meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington ahead of meetings with President Barack Obama. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at his personal residence in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, on Monday (June 13). The powerful deputy crown prince is in the U.S. for meetings with President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Saudi media reported. The visit of Mohammed bin Salman, whose powers include his role as defense minister, comes amid a diplomatic row with the United Nations and policy differences with the United States over the war in Syria and relations with Iran. Prince Mohammed, spearheading an ambitious plan to revamp the economy of the world's top oil exporter, will also travel to California where he is expected to meet company executives in Silicon Valley, the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said. The royal court said in a statement late on Sunday (June 12) that the prince would discuss ways of strengthening relations with the United States, which have cooled under Obama's presidency. Saudi Arabia, a leading supporter of Syrian rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad, has been critical of what it sees as foot-dragging by Washington over efforts to end the conflict. It has also urged Obama to take a tougher stand on what Riyadh sees as Iranian meddling in the affairs of Arab states. Iran denies such interference. The UN's Ban said last week that Saudi Arabia had exerted "unacceptable" pressure on the world body after a U.N. report blacklisted a Saudi-led military coalition for killing children in Yemen, a charge denied by the kingdom. The United Nations removed the coalition from the list after Riyadh threatened to cut its funding of U.N. programs, diplomatic sources said.