Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States Prince Khaled bin Salman, the son of the current king and the 10th ambassador to the U.S. since 1945, recently spoke with The Washington Post, in what has been described as his first interview since taking up his new role.
The interview touched on various topics, including the ongoing Gulf crisis, human rights and women's rights in Saudi Arabia, ISIS and U.S.-Saudi relations.
Salman, who assumed his new role in April, noted that there has been a "huge improvement" in U.S.-Saudi relations since Donald Trump took office.
"There is a huge improvement in the Saudi-U.S. relationship under this administration. I think that President Trump is determined to work with his allies in the region to counter Iranian expansionism and terrorism. We are happy with the current policies in the region," Salman said.
Here are the key highlights of the interview:
On Qatar: the country should "stop funding extremism"
Since early June, four Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar.
The Saudi-led block accused Qatar of supporting terrorist and extremist groups, which was followed by a joint statement which listed 59 individuals and 12 Qatari-affiliated entities on a "terrorist supporters" list.
When asked how he thinks this could be resolved, Salman says Qatar should "stop funding extremism."
"I think Qatar’s policies have been a threat to our national security, especially when they interfere in our domestic politics and support extremists. . . . In Syria, they have supported al-Qaeda affiliates and some terrorist [Shiite] militias in Iraq. We hope Qatar will stop funding extremism," he says.
The Saudi-led block added 9 new entities and 9 new individuals to the original terror list in July. Salman believes the kingdom has been at the forefront of fighting terrorism.
"The Saudi government is on the frontline of fighting terrorism. There might be people from a lot of different countries who support terrorism, but in Qatar the problem is that it is government-funded," he said.
The ongoing Gulf crisis isn't just about terror lists. The Saudi-led block released a list of 13 demands given to Qatar via Kuwait - which is acting as a mediator in the dispute - towards the end of June.
In July, the 13 demands were reduced to six principles that include requiring Qatar to commit to combating extremism and terrorism, halting financial assistance and the provision of safe havens for such groups, and suspending all acts of provocation and speeches inciting hatred or violence.
Qatar dismissed the demands, saying it would not accept anything that would undermine its sovereignty as a nation.
On human rights and women's rights in Saudi Arabia
The kingdom has been enforcing change in different areas, albeit slowly. One fight that has been ongoing for years is the fight for women's rights.
Women have demanded their right to be their own guardian, time and again, with a campaign that was launched in 2012.
In just the past couple of years, the kingdom has amended a number of laws in an effort to empower women. These include opening municipal elections to female candidates and making women's verbal consent to marriage mandatory.
Salman believes his country's leaders realize how essential change in this arena is.
"Our leadership realizes that women are important to our future and to moving our economy forward. We can’t move forward without half of our population," he says.
The country's ban on women driving has also received significant attention.
Last year, Saudi billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal took a stand for women's right to drive.
In an open letter titled "It is High Time that Saudi Women Started Driving their Cars," Prince Alwaleed emphasized the importance of progress in today's world. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.
"Every country moves forward, and we are."
Saudi Arabia has long been faced with criticism for the limited rights given to people and its harsh rules - lashes and imprisonment - for those who go against the grain.
The story of Saudi writer and blogger Raif Badawi is one that has not gone unnoticed since he was first arrested in 2012 for "insulting Islam through electronic channels."
In 2014, he was given a sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for arguing for greater freedom of speech in the kingdom and the secularization of the government.
Despite the fact that Badawi is still in prison, Salman believes that the last two years have seen great progress in terms of human rights.
"Every country moves forward, and we are. The last two years have been a time of big change in our country. Human rights have been moving forward, women’s rights have been moving forward," he says.
Salman also shed light on the various initiatives that have put the kingdom's youth high on the list.
The appointment of 31-year-old Mohammed bin Salman as the new crown prince is proof of this very fact.
"Saudi youth have been given a chance to play a part in our future," Salman added.