President Donald Trump said Friday that Saudi Arabia’s king had called to express condolences over what the monarch termed the “barbaric” killing of three people on a US navy base — allegedly by a Saudi national.
“King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences,” Trump tweeted after the shootings in Florida.
“The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people,” Trump added.
Trump repeated much of his comments shortly after, in remarks to reporters at the White House.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday met with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Saudi Arabia.
President Buhari will today participate in the summit titled “What Is Next For Africa” along with presidents of Kenya, Congo-Brazzaville, and Burkina Faso.
More than 4,000 delegates from over 90 countries are participating in the conference, and President Buhari will be speaking about the economic opportunities in Nigeria and his administration’s drive to improve the business environment.
A personal bodyguard of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has been shot dead and seven others wounded, including security forces, during an altercation at a friend’s home, authorities said Sunday.
General Abdelaziz al-Fagham, who was frequently seen by the king’s side, died Saturday evening in the western city of Jeddah, police said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“Fagham was visiting his friend at his home in Jeddah when (an) acquaintance, Mamdouh al-Ali, entered the residence,” it said.
“The conversation between Fagham and Ali escalated… Ali left the home, came back carrying a gun and fired at Fagham, injuring two others in the household, a Filipino worker and brother of the house’s owner.”
Al-Ekhbariya state television reported that the incident was triggered by a “personal dispute”, without giving further details.
Ali himself was later killed and five security personnel wounded in a shootout when the suspect “refused to surrender”, SPA said.
It added that Fagham died in hospital from his injuries and that an investigation had been launched.
The general, close to the king, was well known among Saudis.
His death sparked sharp reactions on Twitter, with some condemning the killing of the Saudi ruler’s “guardian angel”.
Saudi King Salman will resume an unprecedented domestic tour next week, the royal court said Tuesday, as the kingdom grapples with an international crisis over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The 82-year-old monarch visited central Qassim province and the neighbouring region of Hail last week in what observers call a “listening tour”, his first since ascending to the most powerful throne in the Middle East in 2015.
The king is now set to visit the “northern regions of the kingdom” next week to “inspect the condition of citizens and inaugurate a number of development projects”, the official Saudi Press Agency said citing the royal court.
It added that the industrial city of Waad al-Shamal would be among the stops to inaugurate “mining and industrial projects”.
SPA said the king is also set to address the Shura Council, a top advisory body, on Monday, in his first public comments since the murder of insider-turned-critic Khashoggi on October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The king, who was accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his tour last week, appears to be on a drive to shore up support domestically, including within the royal family, as Saudi Arabia faces international outrage over the murder.
King Salman has pardoned some “insolvent prisoners” and last month ordered the resumption of annual bonus payments to all government workers from the beginning of next year. The bonuses had been suspended under austerity measures in 2016 amid low oil prices.
The fallout over Khashoggi’s murder is widely seen as the worst diplomatic crisis facing the kingdom since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
After first insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, Saudi authorities said he was killed in an argument that degenerated into a brawl before finally accepting what Turkey had said virtually from the start — that he was killed in a premeditated hit.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to murder Khashoggi came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government.
The global fallout over the murder has tainted the image of 33-year-old Prince Mohammed — the de facto ruler and heir apparent — even though the kingdom strongly denies he was involved.
But it so far has not threatened to unseat the prince, especially after his domestic crackdown on dissent, effectively neutering his political rivals, and his tightening grip on military and security agencies.
It was unclear whether the crown prince will accompany the king next week.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman on Sunday discussed the case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their first telephone talks on the controversy, both sides said.
Erdogan and Salman discussed “the issue of shedding light on the case of Jamal Khashoggi” and also emphasised the “importance of creating a joint working group within the framework of the investigation,” said a Turkish presidential source, who asked not to be named.
Ankara had previously said a working group would be set up in line with a Saudi proposal. But few details have emerged over how this will function.
The Saudi foreign ministry said Salman affirmed his country’s “solid” relations with Turkey in the phone call with Erdogan.
The king phoned Erdogan “to thank the president for welcoming the kingdom’s proposal to form a joint working group to discuss the disappearance of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi.”
Salman emphasised the importance of the Turkey-Saudi relationship and said no-one should be able to “undermine the strength of this relationship,” it added.
Khashoggi has been missing since he stepped inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish officials say they believe he was killed inside the consulate and macabre claims have been published in Turkish media. But Saudi Arabia strongly rejects he was killed inside the mission.
Erdogan meanwhile has behaved cautiously in the controversy, expressing concern but stopping short of directly accusing Riyadh.
US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had agreed to his request to ramp up oil production, a week after OPEC already announced an output rise.
“Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & dysfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference,” Trump announced in an early morning tweet.
“Prices too high! He has agreed!”
Trump has repeatedly lashed out at OPEC on Twitter in recent months, piling pressure on Riyadh, a major ally, to boost output as he hopes for lower pump prices before midterm congressional elections in November.
His latest comments come a week after ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — of which Saudi Arabia is the major member — had already agreed to raise output from July.
Non-OPEC member Russia on June 23 also backed the effort, capping a week of tense diplomacy for the grouping that averted a damaging rift between arch-foes Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The ministers announced they would ramp up oil production by around one million barrels a day from July.
“I think it will contribute significantly to meet the extra demand that we see coming in the second half,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Faleh told reporters at the time.
The talks had centered on whether to amend an 18-month-old supply-cut deal between OPEC members and allied countries, including Russia, that has cleared a global oil glut and lifted crude prices.
Saudi Arabia, backed by non-member Russia, had argued strongly in favor of increasing production as grumbles in major consumer countries like the United States, India and China have grown about high prices.
Iran opposed any changes to the original production-cut deal at a time when its oil industry is facing renewed sanctions over Trump‘s decision to quit the international nuclear deal with Tehran.
In the end, both sides were able to save face.
The current production curb pact calls for participating countries to trim output by 1.8 million barrels a day.
But production constraints and geopolitical factors have seen several nations exceed their restriction quotas, keeping about 2.8 million barrels off the market, according to OPEC.
By agreeing to collectively raise output by a million barrels, member countries are simply committing to comply fully with the deal struck in late 2016.
Iran has accused Trump of trying to politicize OPEC and said it was US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela that had helped push up prices.
Saudi Arabia was producing more than 9.9 million barrels a day in May, according to OPEC, citing secondary sources.
It’s a sad day in Saudi Arabia as they mourn the death of their king, Abdullahi, who died on Friday.
Salman, his brother has now become king as stated by the royal court in the world’s top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam said in an official statement.
Abdullahi, who is said to have been born 1924, had ruled Saudi Arabia as the king since 2005, but had run the country as de facto regent for a decade before his predecessor King Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke.
According to the state television, “His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1a.m. this morning”.
King Salman has named his half-brother Muqrin as heir to the throne, rapidly moving to forestall any fears of succession.
American President Barack Obama also expressed condolences and saluted the late king’s commitment to close ties saying, “As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions,” Obama said in a statement.
“One of those convictions was his steadfast and passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond.”
In contrast, radical Sunni Islamist militants who want the kingdom’s destruction rejoiced on Twitter and on hardline online forums, with some praying that God make the death of a man they see as a “tyrant” the beginning of the end for Saudi Arabia.
Abdullah pushed cautious changes in the conservative Islamic kingdom including increased women’s rights and economic deregulation, but made no moves towards democracy.
According to Jamal Khashoggi, the head of a news station owned by Saudi’s prince, Salam will continue with Abdullah’s reforms. He also added that King Abdullahi was not conservative in person, but he values the opinion of the conservative constituency of the country.