Trump, in first trip abroad, to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia

Geronimo Vena
Mag 8, 2017

"From Rome, the President will continue on to previously announced visits to Brussels for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit and meetings with European Union and Belgian leaders, and to Sicily for the G7 meeting".

Tarar, who was one of the first and among the few Muslim Americans to have supported Trump during his election campaign, asserted that the US President's decision to visit Saudi Arabia reflected that he was not racist against Islam. As a candidate, Trump railed against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, claiming the United States contributes too much with little in return.

Abbas, who met on Wednesday with Trump at the White House, said afterward he had invited Trump to meet him in Bethlehem.

Their relationship got off to a rocky start when, during the USA presidential campaign, Francis famously said that anyone who wants to build a wall to keep out foreigners is "not Christian".

The Sunni-led Saudis and Shia Iranians are engaged in a regional struggle for influence.

During President Barack Obama's tenure, relations with the Gulf States, and Saudi Arabia in particular, were strained over his administration's engagement with Iran.

"As we look at the violence around the world - and believe me, its violent; I get to see it perhaps better than anybody - we realise how truly blessed we are to live in a nation that honours the freedom of worship", Trump said. The official added the trip demonstrates Trump is "willing to and has embraced his leadership role in multinational forums when they serve the interests of the American people". Meanwhile the Saudi Crown Prince said on his trip to Washington that Trump is a "true friend of Muslims".

Officials in Washington are reporting that the USA and Saudi Arabia are conducting negotiations for a multi-billion-dollar arms deal.

The visit comes as Trump wades into Middle East peacemaking, trying to reach a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, a goal that has eluded his predecessors and countless diplomats.

Trump will be visiting Palestine as well, where he would seek to advance the peace process and "unlock the potential of the Palestinian economy".

He has assigned his son-in-law Jared Kushner to oversee efforts.

Administration officials said they foresaw a number of agreements to be announced after the meetings, where discussions are expected to include a new military coalition among friendly Muslim states.

US President Donald Trump (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walk into the White House in Washington, DC, February 15, 2017.

It was stressed that an important part of the trip was Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia.

When Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump at the Vatican next month, the world will be watching how the Argentine "slum pope" interacts with the brash, NY billionaire-turned-president. The new president has demanded allies pay more for collective security, but has backed away from his early declarations that the alliance is "obsolete". Trump hopes to use the meeting to obtain a "long term fix for radicalization" in the Muslim world, as well as to work to cut off funding for terror groups and to increase burden sharing in the fight against ISIS.

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