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Saudi Arabia

Scholarships for 12,000 more students in US

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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman instructed authorities Thursday to include some 12,000 male and female Saudi students studying in the US at their own expense in the government’s foreign scholarship program.
The royal gesture came on the recommendation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, who are currently in the United States.
However, the directive said the students should fulfill certain conditions to benefit from the scholarship program.
Saudis living and studying in the United States pledged Wednesday their allegiance to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The citizens met the two princes at their residence in Washington. The two leaders, who are attending the Camp David summit, used the opportunity to speak with their fellow citizens and listen to their concerns.
The Saudi leaders also met with Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Jim Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to discuss issues of mutual concern.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, meanwhile, held talks with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and National Security Adviser Susan Rice on the prospect of expanding cooperation between the two countries.
Also on Wednesday, Prince Mohammed bin Naif met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates’ armed forces, and discussed the agenda of the Gulf Cooperation Council talks with the US.
Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday ahead of the Camp David summit.
Obama welcomed the two Saudi princes to the Oval Office, where he lauded “an extraordinary friendship and relationship” between the two countries. “We are continuing to build that relationship during a very challenging time,” Obama said, a reference to conflagrations in Yemen, Syria and Iraq that have reverberated across the Middle East.
Obama praised his guests for their work on counterterrorism, which he described as “absolutely critical” to the US.
During the summit, the Gulf states will seek assurances that Obama is ready to push back against Iranian proxies, particularly in Syria where he has been reluctant to act, even if it causes turbulence in sensitive nuclear talks. They will also want assurances the nuclear deal does not represent a broader “grand bargain” with Iran.
“What they fear, above all, is that for one reason or another, American policy is beginning to tilt toward Tehran and away from traditional US allies in the region,” said Hussein Ibish of the Arab Gulf States Institute, the think-tank based in Washington.


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