Trump chooses Riyadh for his first trip overseas

Marco Green
May 14, 2017

"This is the first country the U.S. president visits on his tour of the region, also his first, which attests to the importance attached to Saudi Arabia", Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Riyadh-based Saudi political analyst, told Arab News on Thursday. "Our task is not to dictate to others how to live", he added, "but to build a coalition of friends and partners who share the goal of fighting terrorism and bringing safety, opportunity and stability to Middle East".

It will be the first foreign trip for Trump, who campaigned on an "America First" isolationist platform.

By choosing Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, as his first destination, Trump intends to send a message about how he wants to show leadership on global issues like the fight against Daesh by strengthening alliances, senior administration officials said.

The White House said on Thursday that Trump has accepted the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia later this month.

Earlier both leaders have betted out contrasting policy points and majorly the fiery conversation via the media and press when Donald Trump was campaigning a year ago in February to be the Republican Party's candidate for the White House, Washington.

"Tolerance is the cornerstone of peace", Mr. Trump said at a ceremony at the White House.

Trump has stopped short of recommitting his administration to a two-state solution, a long-standing foundation of USA policy.

"Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are going to figure prominently on whatever policy this administration is going to develop", Feierstein told VOA.

The situation in Yemen and the Iranian intervention in the region, by supporting the Houthi militias in Yemen and the Syrian regime, which is a major contributor to the spread of terrorism, are also hot topics the two sides are expected to discuss during the visit, said Al-Shehri.

"It's a clear and powerful message that the USA harbours no ill-will" towards the Arab and Muslim world, he told reporters in Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, March 5, 2017. He also is to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, presumably in the West Bank.

Trump has promised to make a major effort to resolve the generations-old dispute between Israelis and Palestinians. In Israel, the president will discuss how he plans to broker peace between between Israel and the Palestinians, a goal that has evaded many previous administrations.

Pope Francis addresses the crowd during the Regina Coeli prayer at St Peter's square at the Vatican, April 30, 2017.

Pope Francis, on his return flight from Egypt April 29, told reporters that he had not yet been informed by the Vatican secretary of state's office about a request for an audience from USA officials. The Group of Seven industrialized democracies consists of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Trump will also attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels on 25 May and the G7 summit in Sicily the following day.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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