Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Saudi Arabia counting down the seconds until Trump arrives

Saudi Arabia counting down the seconds until Trump arrives

The President's itinerary was laid out by US National Security Advisor HR McMaster who confirmed that he would be addressing a gathering of Muslim leaders on his hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam.

President Trump is expected to agree arms deals of $100 billion when he visits Saudi Arabia at the weekend, with a further $200 billion of deals in the pipeline over the coming decade.

McMaster said that the speech is aimed at uniting the broader Muslim world against the common enemies of all civilisation.

Trump's previous speeches on radical Islam, made largely during his presidential election campaign, have centered on threats posed to the U.S. And the president's attempts to push through travel bans on people from a number of Muslim-majority countries were not well received in the Muslim world. To counter Iran and Russian Federation support to Bashar al Assad's government in Syria, US administration is increasingly looking to regional allies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and even Turkey for support.

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Last week, we discussed the president's upcoming trip.

"U.S. President Donald Trump and leaders of the world's Islamic nations will meet to address ways of building more robust and effective security partnerships to counter and prevent the growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism around the globe through promoting tolerance and moderation", a statement on the website read.

Briefing reporters about Trump's agenda today at the White House, McMaster lauded it as a "historic trip".

Saudi leaders felt Obama was reluctant to get involved in the civil war in Syria and was tilting toward Shiite-dominated Iran.

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Trump's next stop on his multi-country tour will take him to Israel and the Palestinian territories, where, over the course of two days, he will visit Yad Vashem, and meet privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem, in the West Bank.

"We hope they (the Saudis). make up for their past mistakes and create an atmosphere of agreement and negotiation", Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying.

Salman praised Trump in a telephone call in April, describing him as "courageous" for authorizing a USA military strike on a Syrian air base following a chemical attack there.

McMaster did say that Trump would be holding bilateral meeting with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, but none of those countries are part of that group.

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Trump, in turn, called the Pope's questioning of his faith "disgraceful".

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