In an hour-long, wide-ranging interview with MBC with journalist Dawood Al-Shirian, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, discussed Saudi foreign and domestic policy. Specifically, the Deputy Crown Prince discussed the progress of Vision 2030 reforms, the conflict in Yemen and relations with Iran.
The Deputy Crown Prince provided an update on Vision 2030, one year into its implementation. The Kingdom’s non-oil revenue has doubled, and the budget deficit has been reduced 44 percent in the first quarter of 2017. This fiscal reform has enabled the relaxation of certain austerity measures. For example, salary allowances in the public sector have resumed. “We believe there are huge non-oil investment opportunities in the Kingdom which have not been used. The Aramco IPO will provide cash for the Public Investment Fund,” the Deputy Crown Prince said.
Mohammed bin Salman on Foreign Relations: Iran and Yemen
On relations with Iran, the Deputy Crown Prince noted that Iran’s extremist ideology and state sponsorship of terrorism were obstacles to dialogue. “How can you communicate with someone or a regime who has a well-established conviction that his system exists on an extremist ideology … that they should control all the Muslims and the Muslim world? How can I convince him? What are the interests between us? How do I reason with him?”
The Deputy Crown Prince noted that the conflict on Yemen was a war of necessity, forced on the Kingdom by Houthi aggression that specifically threatened the Kingdom. “We did not want to go to war, but it came to a point where we either got involved or were faced with a worse scenario. … If we had waited longer, we would have seen the battle transferred to Saudi territory.”
Read more about this story at Arab News.
What the full interview from MBC.