Trump hails Saudi achievements, criticizes Iran in UN speech

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U.S. President Donald trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2018 in New York City. — AFP

United Nations -- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, are pursuing bold new reforms in Saudi Arabia, US President Donald Trump said during his speech at the annual United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Trump added that the US is working with Gulf nations, Jordan and Egypt to set up a regional strategic alliance.

“Following my trip to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries opened a new center to target terrorist financing. They are enforcing new sanctions, working with us to identify and track terrorist networks and taking more responsibility for fighting terrorism and extremism in their own region,” Trump told the crowd of world leaders.

“The United States is working with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, and Egypt to establish a strategic alliance so Middle Eastern nations can advance security and stability across their home region,” he added.

Trump also said that foreign aid would only be given to “friends” from now on.

“Moving forward we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and frankly are — our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.”

Trump also blasted Iran as a “corrupt dictatorship” that is plundering its people to pay for aggression abroad, using his speech to the United Nations General Assembly to threaten more sanctions against Tehran.

“Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction,” Trump told the annual gathering. “They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations.”

Trump’s speech in the green-marbled UN hall was aimed at Iran, which the United States accuses of harboring nuclear ambitions and fomenting instability in the Middle East through its support for militant groups in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Trump compared US relations with Iran to what he called improved ties with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who Trump had met in Singapore in June as part of a still-unfulfilled drive to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. --Agencies


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