Donald Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia for first trip abroad as President

Donald Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia for first trip abroad as President

"My first stop will be Saudi Arabia - the heart of the Muslim world". It noticeably refrains from mentioning democracy and human rights - topics Arab leaders often view as United States moralising - in favour of the more limited goals of peace and stability. "Prioritizing American interests means strengthening alliances and partnerships that help us extend our influence and improve the security of the American people". "We are here instead to offer partnership in building a better future for us all", the document said.

But the political turmoil in Washington over Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the simultaneous developments involving allegations of forcing Comey to stop investigating former security adviser Michael Flynn and the appointment of a special counsel to look into the allegations of Russia's interference in the 2016 elections and his presidential campaign's ties to Russian Federation, threatens to overshadow his first overseas trip as President. The marathon trip will also take him to Israel, the Vatican, Belgium and Italy.

But James Carafano, a foreign policy and national security analyst for the conservative Heritage Foundation who advised the president during the campaign and his transition, said a successful trip could be just what the administration needs.

Two different sources provided the AP with copies of the draft of his remarks, billed as a marquee speech of the trip.

"The president has not seen this draft", White House spokesman Sean Spicer said. "He continues to take input and is writing a final version".

"Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on", he told a rally in the state of SC in December past year.

"The people in the rest of the world do not have the time to pay attention to what's happening domestically here", Tillerson said.

Despite Saudi unease with the Obama administration's diplomatic efforts with Iran, and Trump's clear pledge to revisit the deal, Corker said he did not expect the agreement to be a major part of talks.

The US official confirmed to CNN the speech will urge Muslim leaders to "drive out the terrorists from your places of worship" and cast the fight against radicalism as a battle of "good and evil".

And he drew vehement criticism even from within his own party for comments in which he seemed to suggest that the mother of a Muslim American soldier killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq had been forbidden by religious considerations from speaking at the Democratic National Convention. "If using this anti-Muslim, anti-minority rhetoric has given him support to win the White House, to win the world he will need a different message and a different mindset". That ban was blocked in federal court, prompting the administration to sign a second one.

Trump intends to condemn Syria's President Bashar Assad for committing "unspeakable crimes against humanity" and Iran for contributing to spiraling violence in Syria.

"It's very important that the president is reaching out to Muslim-majority countries in the world, and trying to identify who our friends are and work with them to beat our common enemies", Democratic Congressman Thomas Suozzi, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East told VOA.

Obama called for understanding and acknowledged some of America's missteps in the region.

The bans, which were blocked by USA courts, did not include Saudi Arabia - one of the main U.S. allies in the Middle East - among the blacklisted countries, although 15 of the 19 men involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks were Saudi citizens. Obama aides have continued to defend it.

That, together with a more muted focus on human rights and the likely announcement of new arms deals, should please Washington's traditional Sunni Gulf allies.

Trump will then hold separate meetings with the Saudi crown prince and deputy crown prince before traveling to the Murabba Palace for a third welcome ceremony and royal banquet dinner.

"The great thing about a foreign trip is, to a great extent you can stage manage it a lot more", he said.



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