Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman downplays US President Donald Trump's remarks about reliance on US, in an interview to Bloomberg, says despite previous US president working against Saudi agenda "we were able to protect our interests."

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US March 20, 2018.
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US March 20, 2018. (Reuters Archive)

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dismissed remarks by Donald Trump in which the US president said he had warned the king he would not last in power "for two weeks" without US military backing and demanded he pay up.

"Saudi Arabia was there before the United States of America. It's there since 1744, I believe more than 30 years before the United States of America," Prince Mohammed said in a Bloomberg interview published on Friday. 

Referring to former US President Barack Obama, he said, despite US working against Saudi Arabia's agenda in the Middle East, "we were able to protect our interests."

"So Saudi Arabia needs something like around 2,000 years to maybe face some dangers. So I believe this is not accurate."

'You will have some misunderstandings'

Speaking at a campaign rally in Mississippi, Trump had said, "I love the king, King Salman, but I said, 'King, we're protecting you. You might not be there for two weeks without us. You have to pay for your military, you have to pay.'"

Prince Mohammed, however, dismissed Trump's harsh words as "misunderstandings."

"I love working with him (Trump). You know, you have to accept that any friend will say good things and bad things," he said.

"So you cannot have 100 percent friends saying good things about you, even in your family. You will have some misunderstandings. So we put that in that category."

'We've bought everything with money'

Prince Mohammed said all the weapons the kingdom has from the US are paid for.

"It's not free armament. So ever since the relationship started between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, we've bought everything with money," he added.

The Trump administration has had a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which it views as a bulwark against Iran’s ambitions in the region.

Trump made Saudi Arabia his first stop on his maiden international trip as president last year.

Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil exporter and the de facto leader of OPEC, which has been criticised by Trump for high oil prices.

'We did our job' on replacing Iranian oil

Prince Mohammed also said the kingdom has met its promise to Washington to make up for Iranian crude oil supplies lost through US sanctions.

"The request that America made to Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries is to be sure that if there is any loss of supply from Iran, that we will supply that. And that happened," Prince Mohammed told Bloomberg.

"Iran reduced their exports by 700,000 barrels a day, if I’m not mistaken. And Saudi Arabia and OPEC and non-OPEC countries, they’ve produced 1.5 million barrels a day. So we export as much as 2 barrels for any barrel that disappeared from Iran recently. So we did our job and more."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies