Saturday, 18 November, 2017

White House denies pushing Malaysian premier to stay at Trump Hotel

Prime Minister Najib Razak will be greeted in the Oval Office for talks the White House says will focus on terrorism trade and Asian maritime disputes Don't be influenced by failed state propaganda – Najib
Saul Franklin | 13 September, 2017, 00:35

The United States can count on Malaysia to be a "staunch and steadfast friend" and partner in their shared quest for peace, prosperity and security in the 21st-century, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Monday that the investigation was "apolitical, and certainly independent of anything taking place" during meetings involving the president.

Mr Trump said Datuk Seri Najib has a major role to play in not allowing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terror groups to exist, while the latter said Malaysia is committed to fighting these groups.

The veteran prime minister faces allegations that billions were looted from a sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in complex overseas deals that are being investigated by authorities in several countries, including the United States.

The U.S. Justice Department sued to seize some $1.7 billion in assets it said were bought with misappropriated 1MDB funds.

"Investing in a long-term relationship between our countries, that in itself provides a foundation for us to address issues of concern, and that would include corruption and transparency", a White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence, the president crossed his arms and listened raptly as Najib described Malaysia's purchase of billions of dollars' worth of aircraft from Chicago-based Boeing.

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The five had in their possession different types of guns in various areas of Cairo including El Marg, Ain Shams and Al-Salam. The assailants, whose identities were not yet known, later opened fire at survivors and commandeered a police pickup truck.

Mr. Najib said Tuesday the airline deals would be worth $10 billion in five years, or more if the airline executes the option for additional planes.

There is a pragmatic reason for the Trump administration to host Najib, according to Kurlantzick, who tells VOA 'we do need Malaysia's cooperation on certain issues, on the South China Sea and terrorism'.

Observers have noted that the line-up reflected the significance accorded by Washington under the Trump administration to the meeting in terms of opening a new chapter in its ties with Malaysia, a multicultural and multireligious nation of some 30 million people in vibrant Southeast Asia. The White House said it would not comment on the US Department of Justice investigation.

The prime minister will also meet with members of the Senate Committee on foreign relations later Tuesday afternoon.

A senior USA official acknowledged it was unusual to meet with Najib while 1MDB was under regulatory scrutiny.

"I congratulate you on those investments", Mr. Trump said during a brief public appearance with the Malaysian leader.

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