In Saudi, Trump announces agreement with Gulf nations to fight terror financing

Olive Rios
May 22, 2017

Iran's ruling powers represent the "tip of the spear" of global terrorism, Saudi King Salman said in a speech on Sunday during a visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to the kingdom.

In a pointed departure from his predecessor, Trump all but promised he would not publicly admonish Mideast rulers for human rights violations and oppressive reigns.

"One of the things we will discuss is the purchase of lots of handsome military equipment because nobody makes it like the United States", Trump said, according to a reporter traveling with the president. Trump has criticised Obama's remarks as too apologetic for U.S. actions in the region.

He once mused that he thought "Islam hates us". He declared Islam "one of the world's great faiths".

Trump was greeted at the airport in Riyadh by King Salman, which was notable given that the monarch did not show up previous year to welcome President Barack Obama on his final visit to Saudi Arabia.

Demanding Middle East leaders combat a "crisis of Islamic extremism" emanating from their homelands, President Donald Trump tried to revise his previous anti-Muslim rhetoric while recasting the fight against terrorism as a "battle between good and evil" instead of a clash between the West and Islam.

That comment was a departure from his prepared remarks. A White House official later said that was not intended and attributed it to the president being "an exhausted guy".

Trump announced the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which is committed to prosecuting the financing of terrorism. In office he ordered temporary bans on people from certain Muslim-majority countries, which have been blocked by courts that ruled they were discriminatory.

In some ways, Trump delivered a conventional speech for an American politician.

Even as the president pledged to work alongside Middle Eastern nations, he put the onus for combating terrorism on the region. There were no promises of new financial investment or announcements of increased USA military presence in the region. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists. "Drive them out of your communities".

"Terrorism has spread across the world".

Mr Obama called for understanding and acknowledged some of America's missteps in the region. That speech was denounced by many Republicans and criticized by a number of the United States' Middle East allies as being a sort of apology.

During his second day of his first trip overseas, Trump's speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia addressed the leaders of more than 50 Muslim-majority countries to challenge extremism by cutting off the financing of terrorist groups.

"The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries and frankly for their families and for their children", he said.

The Saudis' warm embrace was welcome change for the besieged White House.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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