Crown Prince visits IBM Watson Health Center, biomechatronics lab in Boston

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Time:  March 26, 2018

Boston — Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, visited IBM Watson Health Center and biomechatronics lab at MIT in Boston on Saturday on the second leg of his US tour.

Biomechatronics is an applied interdisciplinary science that aims to integrate biology, mechanics, and electronics.

During the several hours Boston visit the Crown Prince will meet presidents of universities and Saudi researchers in the city.

He will oversee signing of several agreements between Saudi and US universities. The Crown Prince will tour the institutes creatively using artificial intelligence and technology.

Later he will leave for New York.

Earlier in Washington, Crown Prince Muhammad discussed the Kingdom’s economic diversification plan and Vision 2030 in separate meetings with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Friday.

Crown Prince Muhammad and Jim Yong Kim talked about the Kingdom’s plans to diversify and develop its economy and to create an avenue for grater technological development and advancement.

With Lagarde, the Crown Prince discussed the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiatives to diversify the Saudi economy and develop trade and investment, particularly in technology and human resources.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Lagarde said, “Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and I discussed recent economic developments in Saudi Arabia and the ongoing economic reforms.

“The authorities are continuing to make good progress in implementing their ambitious reform agenda including through the recent introduction of VAT and measures to increase women’s participation in the economy. The decision to slow the pace of fiscal adjustment as was set out in the 2018 budget is appropriate. The IMF expects real GDP growth to pick-up this year.”

The Crown Prince stressed that the main purpose of his ongoing official visit to the United States was to gain US investor confidence in the Kingdom.

He told the Washington Post in remarks published on Friday that he also seeks technological and education assistance in his efforts to reform Saudi Arabia in line with its Vision 2030 plan.

He also spoke about Saudi Arabia’s ambition to develop nuclear power plants, saying that the Kingdom has more than five percent of the world’s uranium reserves.

“If we don›t use it, it›s like telling us don›t use oil,” he told the Post.

Crown Prince Muhammad spoke at length about the prospects for economic growth in the Middle East, saying it could be “the next Europe” if a series of problems can be resolved.

One of those is the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

The official Saudi position is that any peace agreement must recognize a Palestinian state within specified borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Crown Prince called as “painful” Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On the Yemen war, Crown Prince Muhammad said that Saudi Arabia had not passed up “any opportunity” to improve the humanitarian situation.

“There are not good options and bad options. The options are between bad and worse,” he said of the Yemen conflict with Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The Crown Prince discussed his reform efforts at home, including granting women many rights such as driving and more, stressing that he worked hard to convince the conservatives that such restrictions are not part of the Islamic faith.

Crown Prince Muhammad also said that Islam was a moderate religion.

“I believe Islam is sensible, Islam is simple, and people are trying to hijack it,” he said.

The centerpiece of his nearly three-week tour of the United States will come in subsequent stops in Boston, New York, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Houston.

This article was first published Saudi Gazette

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