Trump lands in Saudi Arabia

Trump lands in Saudi Arabia

"We thought that was very important (to start the trip in Saudi Arabia) because obviously people have tried to portray the President in a certain way", a senior White House official said.

Diplomatic sources in Washington say that since scores of world leaders are attending the summit, it would be hard to arrange exclusive meetings between the USA president and other leaders but "Americans are trying to find space for a very brief one-on-one between Mr Sharif and Mr Trump". "He was insane, a real nut job", Trump said, according to the Times, which cited a document summarising the meeting and read to it by an unnamed United States official.

As he leaves for Saudi Arabia on Friday afternoon, Trump posted a tweet "Getting ready for my big foreign trip". The six-stop trip also included visits to Palestine, the Israeli-occupied territories, Vatican, Italy and Belgium.

White House officials have said they consider Trump's visit, and his keynote address, a counterweight to President Obama's debut speech to the Muslim world in 2009 in Cairo. Trump's powerful senior adviser, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, led a West Wing team to craft the agenda, laden with religious symbolism.

He positions himself as an "emissary for the American people, to deliver a message of friendship and hope", according to the draft.

Trump's campaign was marked by his anti-Islamic rhetoric and his administration has twice tried to impose a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries.

Separately, US media say Saudi Arabia will commit to buying about $100bn of US-made arms.

President Donald Trump will issue a call for unity in the fight against radicalism in the Muslim world, casting the challenge as a "battle between good and evil".

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will travel to Riyadh on Sunday to attend the first-ever Arab-Islamic-American Summit being held to develop a security partnership against a growing threat of violent extremism.

Trump may seem an unlikely messenger to deliver an olive branch to the Muslim world.

Lingering questions over his views on the Iran nuclear deal, commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation security and skepticism of the Paris climate agreement, however, could generate tension at meetings with European counterparts in Brussels and Sicily.

The first leg of the trip is likely to be the easiest - Saudi leaders welcomed Trump's election and are keen to work with an administration they see as more in line with their goals.

Back to Riyadh, Dr. Zuhair al-Harthi, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Saudi Arabia's Shura Council, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Trump's visit was the result of Saudi Arabia's steady diplomatic efforts that have contributed to the revival of historic and strategic ties between the two countries. She still owns the brand, which could be boosted by her high-profile stint at the White House.

"Israel is an important American ally, but in recent years we haven't always treated them that way", he said, adding that it was time to renew this friendship.

It said one official had read quotations to the Times and another had confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion. On Sunday, he'll hold meetings with more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders heading converging on Riyadh for a regional summit focused largely on combating the Islamic State and other extremist groups.

Information for this article was contributed by Vivian Salama, Jonathan Lemire, Matthew Lee and staff members of The Associated Press and by Margaret Talev, Jennifer Jacobs and Nick Wadhams of Bloomberg News.



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