Top US officials to attend Saudi financial conference

US energy secretary Rick Perry held private talks with Saudi officials on technology for civilian nuclear power plants in kingdom

Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. Analysts expect a fiery debate as Representative Maxine Waters chairs a U.S. House hearing on affordable housing titled "The End of Affordable Housing? A Review of the Trump Administration's Plans to Change Housing Finance in America". Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg
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US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and presidential adviser Jared Kushner will lead Washington's delegation to an annual financial conference in Saudi Arabia, government sources said on Tuesday.

The US State Department's adviser on Iran, Brian Hook, and Mr Kushner’s adviser Avi Berkowitz plan to join them at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, a senior administration official told Reuters.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is due to step down on December 1, will also attend.

Mr Perry has held a private talks with Saudi officials, including former energy minister Khalid Al Falih, on the use of US technology to build civilian nuclear power plants in the kingdom.

Mr Kushner will attend the conference after leading a delegation to Israel.

The conference, nicknamed "Davos in the Desert", seeks to draw global investment banks and financiers to Riyadh to drum up investment for projects in the region.

It will be held from October 29 to 31 at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh.

Last year executives including JP Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon and Ford Motor Company chairman Bill Ford pulled out of the October conference, after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2.

But Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, later said Mr Khashoggi was killed by rogue officials.