Saudi Arab

Saudi defense minister, new Pentagon chief discuss Mideast in 1st conversation

US and Saudi defense chiefs have held their first phone call since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, exchanging views on the issues in the Middle East.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, who also serves as the kingdom’s defense minister, talked over the phone on Tuesday.

Mattis underlined the importance of the Washington-Riyadh strategic ties, particularly to counter security challenges in the Middle East, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.

The US defense chief also expressed his desire to consult closely with Saudi Arabia on security issues of mutual concern, Davis added.

Meanwhile, the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said in a Wednesday report that Salman “underscored the US secretary of defense’s experience in the region.”

Mattis, known as “Mad Dog” and the “Warrior Monk,” served more than four decades in the Marine Corps and was involved in several key military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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