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US President Donald Trump and Saudi King Agree to Back Safe Zones in Syria and Yemen

Trump spent the last two days reaching out by telephone to a number of world leaders

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Donald Trump at Press Conference- Image Courtesy- Wikimedia
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he White House says President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud have agreed to back safe zones in Syria and Yemen.

The two spoke by telephone Sunday, reaffirming the longstanding relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

A White House statement said Trump asked for the king’s support for safe zones, and that the king agreed.

They also said they will support what the White House called “other ideas” to help refugees driven from their homes because of war, and the “importance of rigorously enforcing” the nuclear deal with Iran, which Trump has fiercely criticised as a bad deal.

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Trump spent the last two days reaching out by telephone to a number of world leaders. He also was to talk Sunday with the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, and acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-Ahn.

He spoke Saturday to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In a much anticipated call, Trump also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, agreeing to cooperate in defeating Islamic State and work for peace in Syria and throughout the world.

The White House said the hour-long call was “positive,” and that it was “a significant start to improving the relationship” between Washington and Moscow, which has been badly strained in recent months, primarily over allegations that Russia interfered in the November presidential election.

Neither side mentioned U.S.-imposed sanctions on Russia, or the possibility they could be eased.

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A Kremlin statement said Putin and Trump “thoroughly discussed” international issues, “including the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the sphere of strategic stability and nonproliferation, the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and the Korean Peninsula.”

The talks also “touched upon … the main aspects of the crisis in Ukraine,” Moscow’s statement said, adding: “It was agreed to establish a partnership on all these and other areas.”(VOA)

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Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Fund Invested $1 Billion In An American Electric Car Manufacturer

Saudi Arabia's 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has talked about using the PIF to help diversify the economy of the kingdom.

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Derek Jenkins, VP of Design at Lucid Motors, introduces the alpha prototype of the Lucid Air at the 2017 New York International Auto Show in New York City. VOA

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested $1 billion Monday in an American electric car manufacturer just weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk earlier claimed the kingdom would help his own firm go private.

Tesla stock dropped Monday on reaction to the news, the same day that the Saudi fund announced it had taken its first loan, an $11 billion borrowing from global banks as it tries to expand its investments.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund said it would invest the $1 billion in Newark, California-based Lucid Motors.

Lucid Motors
Lucid Motors. Flickr

The investment “will provide the necessary funding to commercially launch Lucid’s first electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2020,” the sovereign wealth fund said in a statement. “The company plans to use the funding to complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct its factory in Arizona, enter production for the Lucid Air to begin the global rollout of the company’s retail strategy starting in North America.”

Lucid issued a statement quoting Peter Rawlinson, its chief technology officer, welcoming the investment.

“At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric-connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward,” he said.

The decision comes after Musk on Aug. 7 tweeted that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private. Investors pushed Tesla’s shares up 11 percent in a day, boosting its valuation by $6 billion.

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There are multiple reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the disclosure, including asking board members what they knew about Musk’s plans. Experts say regulators likely are investigating if Musk was truthful in the tweet about having the financing set for the deal. Musk later said the Saudi Public Investment Fund would be investing in the firm, something Saudi officials never comment on.

Meanwhile Monday, the sovereign wealth fund known by the acronym PIF said it had taken its first loan, an $11 billion borrowing. It did not say how it would use the money, only describing it as going toward “general corporate purposes.”

Also Read: Electric Cars: The Newest Trend in India

The Las Vegas-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute estimates the Saudi fund has holdings of $250 billion. Those include a $3.5 billion stake in the ride-sharing app Uber.

Saudi Arabia’s 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has talked about using the PIF to help diversify the economy of the kingdom, which relies almost entirely on money made from its oil sales. (VOA)