Trump's Saudi nemesis sends best wishes after election victory
A Saudi billionaire prince has congratulated Donald Trump for his presidential election victory, almost a year after they clashed over Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the US.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the 41st richest man in the world, said on Twitter on Thursday that "America has spoken" and that past differences would be put aside.
Trump has so far not replied.
Talal and Trump clashed on Twitter last December over Trump's call to ban Muslims entering the US shortly after the Islamic State attacks on Paris, which killed 130 people.
The next day, Trump issued a withering reply:
Talal, in a wide-ranging telephone interview on CNBC, said he planned to meet Trump in the United States soon.
"I have no problem with him right now, and I'm very happy to interact with him," he said on CNBC. "Candidate Trump, for sure, is not like president-elect Trump and then president Trump... he is progressing in the right direction."
Alwaleed also cited reports that Trump had deleted some of his posts on Twitter referencing Muslims.
Alwaleed said he did not regret criticizing Trump during the campaign but that he hoped a Trump presidency would be different than what he promised during his campaign.
The prince also said the Middle East needs some reassurance from Trump that the Arab world remains an ally. World leaders also want to know Trump is committed "to all of the international treaties that he had", he said on CNBC.
Talal, the billionaire chairman of Kingdom Holding who also owns shares of several US companies, said he has high expectations for US economy.
There are no more excuses for Republicans, who will preside over the White House as well as in Congress, "not to deliver this growth that is expected from them," he told CNBC.
Many Middle East leaders have congratulated Trump for his election victory, but it has not all gone his way.
Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi intellectual who runs Prince Talal's al-Arab news channel, said Trump viewed Arabs as either opponents or cash cows.
He called on all Arabs to put their differences aside to face the new president.
Translation: "We can put our differences aside… we will need this as we are facing an American president who views us all as opponents and as ‘cash'."
Trump told the New York Times in March that without America, "Saudi Arabia wouldn't exist for very long."