Trump, in address to Muslims, urges fight against terror

Elias Hubbard
May 21, 2017

"This package of defense equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats, while also bolstering the Kingdom's ability to contribute to counter terrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on the US military to conduct those operations", the White House said in a statement.

Two years ago, then-citizen Donald Trump criticized then-first lady Michelle Obama's decision to go bare-headed on a January 2015 visit with her husband.

Obama, who sold about $115 billion in United States weapons to Saudi Arabia during his eight years as president, had slowed military cooperation with the kingdom in large part because of what it considered Saudi Arabia's indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Yemen.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described common views on counter-terrorism, the threat from Iran and regional security.

As Trump and the 81-year-old king, who was aided by a cane, walked along the red carpet, military jets swept the sky, leaving a red, white and blue trail. Saudi Arabia has previously bestowed the honour on Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Obama.

"Great to be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia".

What emerged as a veritable lovefest between the two governments was a marked contrast to years of growing estrangement under President Barack Obama.

US technology and engineering giant GE said Saturday it had signed $15 billion worth of business deals with Saudi Arabia.

Executives from a number of major USA companies unveiled investment partnerships with the Saudis.

Trump made no substantial remarks on his first day overseas and spent most of his time shuttling between opulent palace ballrooms with the king. Among them was a United States dollars 15 billion arrangement with GE focused on power, oil and gas, and health care.

Trump, surrounded by Saudi officials, bops back and forth with a smile on his face, while White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn appear more reserved in their moves. The president's daughter has championed working women since joining the administration.

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner called the president of Lockheed Martin, a major supplier of USA military equipment, for a lower price for the radar system as part of the deal, according to The New York Times.

The Saudis' welcome appeared to lift the spirits of Trump's beleaguered staff, ensnared in a seemingly endless cycle of negative stories involving Comey's firing and the intensifying Russian Federation investigations.

Later Saturday, Trump was greeted by a traditional troupe of Saudi drummers and sword-waving dancers.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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