No new financial commitment for Syria despite Trump tweet, says Saudi official

US President Donald Trump recently tweeted that Saudi Arabia has "now agreed to spend the necessary money" to help rebuild war-torn Syria
No new financial commitment for Syria despite Trump tweet, says Saudi official
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Thu 27 Dec 2018 09:12 AM

A Saudi government official has denied US President Donald Trump’s recent assertion that the kingdom has pledged new funds to help Syria recover from years of war, according to local media reports.

On Monday, the American president tweeted that “Saudi Arabia has now agreed to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria, instead of the United States.”

“Isn’t it nice when immensely wealthy countries help rebuild their neighbours rather than a great country, the US, that is 5,000 miles away. Thanks to Saudi A,” his tweet added.

A spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, however, told CNBC that the kingdom has not made any new financial pledge to Syria since August, when it was announced that the country has committed $100 million to help stabilise areas of Syria re-taken from Daesh fighters.

“The Kingdom is a major contributor to the global coalition to defeat ISIS, flying the second highest number of stories against ISIS in Syria as well as donating millions of dollars for relief efforts there,” the official told CNBC in an e-mailed statement.

Later, on Wednesday, National Security Council spokesperson Garret Marquis clarified that the president’s tweet was not meant to signal a new financial commitment from the Saudi government.

“The United States welcomes the contributions of all coalition members to the defeat of ISIS in Syria, including strong past contributions from Saudi Arabia,” he said in a statement.

Earlier in December, Trump announced that the US military would be withdrawing from the battlefield in Syria, saying that ISIS is defeated and that the group was his “only reason for being there during the Trump presidency.”

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