Trump suggests Saudi Arabia may have to pay Syria bill
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail|04 April 2018| 17 Rajab 1439
President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday countries that want the U.S. to remain in Syria may have to pay for the continued military presence, singling out Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom’s officials have indicated they want the U.S. to stay, Trump said, adding he has told them they may have to foot the bill for the continued operations.
“Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision, and I said, ‘well you want us to stay, maybe you’re going to have to pay,’” he told reporters at the White House.
“We do a lot of things in this country. We do [them] for a lot of reasons, but it’s very costly for our country and it helps other countries a hell of a lot more than it helps us. So we’re going to be making a decision,” he said.
Trump has said he wants the U.S. to exit Syria, but the call has been met with opposition from military leaders who are warning such a move could jeopardize gains against the Daesh terror group.
The issue is expected to be addressed during Trump’s meeting Tuesday with top administration officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Asked about his preference Tuesday, Trump said he wants the U.S. to exit the war-torn country because of the bill America has racked up in the region, funds he believes would be better put toward “rebuilding our nation”.
“We will have as of three months ago $7 trillion in the Middle East over the last 17 years,” he said. “We get nothing, nothing out of it. Nothing. And as you remember, in civilian life for years I said ‘keep the oil’. I was always saying ‘keep the oil’. We didn’t keep the oil. Who got the oil? It was ISIS.”
He was using another name for Daesh, a U.S., Turkey and UN-designated terrorist group.
Trump said he is consulting with allies on next steps in Syria, and plans to make a final decision “in the very near future”.
During a telephone call with Saudi King Salman, Trump and the royal “discussed joint efforts to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and counter Iranian efforts to exploit the Syrian conflict to pursue its destabilizing regional ambitions”, the White House said.
Source – Anadolu Agency