Trump goes to S Arabia Friday on first foreign trip as president

Dhaka,  Thu,  29 June 2017
Published : 19 May 2017, 16:53:25
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Trump goes to S Arabia Friday on first foreign trip as president

WASHINGTON, May 19:  Donald Trump heads to Saudi Arabia on Friday on his first foreign trip as president to repair relations with the United States’ closest Arab ally, restart the Arab-Israeli peace process and, potentially, reassert the US security role in the region, reports Al Jazeera.

Going to Saudi Arabia first is a highly symbolic move for President Trump who is struggling with political troubles at home, but is drawing optimism from Arab leaders despite his deep unpopularity in Arab public opinion for his anti-Muslim commentary during the 2016 US election campaign.

The president will hold a series of meetings starting on Saturday with Saudi rulers, including King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudis want more US help confronting Iran and armed groups, as well as private investment in Saudi companies.

“You have a president who clearly, despite many negative comments he’s made about Saudi Arabia, is treating them as an ally. The optics will be very good,” said Aaron David Miller, a Middle East analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC.

Trump will hold a separate session with leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to discuss the civil war in Syria and potential “de-escalation zones” to provide safe areas for civilians.

The US president will lunch with 56 invited Arab and Muslim leaders to discuss combating “extremism” and cracking down on illicit financing of armed groups, according to the White House.

Trump will not come away empty-handed. The president expects to ink a $100bn arms sale with Saudi Arabia.
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