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Saudi Arabia says Trump can be a friend to everyone

Trump potentially a friend to everyone: Saudi foreign minister

The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia believes that the new U.S. administration can extend an olive branch to every region of the globe, which includes forming strong alliances within the Arab world.

Just weeks ago, the Trump administration jolted the world by slapping travel restrictions on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries linked to terror—leading some to accuse Trump of singling out Muslims. However, in a conversation with CNBC, Saudi Arabia's top diplomat struck a more constructive tone.

"I believe (President) Donald Trump is a friend to everybody, potentially," Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abel Al-Jubeir, said on the outskirts of the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
Faisal Al Nasser | Reuters

"I have no basis to question his motives," he added, when asked whether he could be a friend to the Arab world. "I believe that he wants to do what is best for America, and this is what every leader should do for his country."

The Middle Eastern nation is a long term ally of the States, and was not one of the countries included on the executive order that imposed the travel ban. Yet on the campaign trail, Trump hit out at the Saudis, saying the U.S. should block oil imports from the nation.

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However, officials and commentators from Saudi Arabia remain largely positive on future relations between the two nations. An influential member of the Saudi royal family told CNBC at the World Economic Forum last month that America will continue to enjoy a warm relationship with the country, and emphasized key areas of agreement between the two nations.

"He (Trump) wants to have peace and prosperity," Prince Turki al Faisal, the former head of Saudi Arabian intelligence told CNBC. Prince Turki said that Trump has spoken of the importance of fighting the so-called Islamic State and reevaluating its relationship with Iran, two areas where he said the countries would find common ground.

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Adding to these comments at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Prince Turki said that Trump's election win may have surprised America's traditional institutions. Yet he added that since taking office, Trump had "brought himself back" more towards an "institutional outlook" — with key cabinet appointments being one particular example.

"His appointment of Rex Tillerson a secretary of State indicates that Mr. Trump has brought into his administration people who understand how these institutions in America operate and what affect they would have on the rest of the world," he said.

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