Mohammad Bin Salman and Trump during their meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday. Image Credit: AFP

Washington: President Donald Trump welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman as a friend of the US and “great purchaser”  of American armaments and investments.

“A lot of people are at work”  because of Saudi Arabia’s business, Trump said, adding that the kingdom has finalised $12.5 billion in purchases of planes, missiles and frigates from US companies.

Prince Mohammad praised the kingdom’s “really deep”  relationship with the US and said the Saudis are considering $400 billion in US investment opportunities.

“A lot of things could be tackled in the close future,”  the prince added.

Prince Mohammad will hold separate meetings with a long roster of influential US officials, including the secretaries of defence, treasury and commerce, the CIA chief and congressional leaders from both parties.

Trump believes unity among Gulf states in the Middle East is critical and still wants to organise a meeting of Gulf leaders, who are divided by a dispute involving Qatar, a senior administration official said on Monday.

Prince Mohammad also has big economic plans, and over three weeks in the US he will meet businessmen in New York, tech mavens from Google and Apple Inc. in San Francisco, and entertainment bigwigs in Los Angeles. Other stops include Boston and Houston.