President Trump begins swing through Middle East

President Trump begins swing through Middle East

President Trump begins swing through Middle East

Yes, Saudi Arabia, the abode of the holiest sites of a religion President Donald Trump once said "hates us", a country he once suggested would not exist without "the cloak of American protection".

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and U.S. President Donald Trump are likely to have wide ranging discussions on a number of issues including Islamabad's tense relationship with India, on the sidelines of the first Arab-Islamic-American Summit in riyadh.

After wrapping up his two-day visit, Trump will travel to Israel, Palestine and the Vatican and then on to Brussels and Sicily where he is to take part in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 summits.

Trump and his wife Melania, who dressed conservatively in black but did not cover her hair, walked side-by-side to the tarmac where they both shook hands with Saudi King Salman.

White House staff cast the 70-year-old's "friendly but candid" style as an asset in his dealings with foreign leaders.

President Trump officially kicked off his first foreign trip Friday afternoon as he embarks on a multi-day tour of the Middle East.

Media captionTrump's first trip: What's on the agenda in Saudi Arabia?

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Asked about the Times report, Spicer said of the former FBI chief, "by grandstanding and politicising the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russian Federation".

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that an unidentified senior Trump adviser was being considered a "person of interest" in the law enforcement investigation.

Comey, who has not spoken publicly in the 10 days since he was sacked, will testify in an open session of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

US President Donald Trump (C-L) is welcomed by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (C) upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on May 20, 2017, followed by First Lady Melania Trump (R).

While leaders in the Middle East are likely to greet Mr. Trump warmly, he could receive a cooler reception in Europe.

"I'll speak with Muslim leaders and challenge them to fight hatred and extremism, and embrace a peaceful future for their faith", Trump promised ahead of the trip.

"We hope that this historic event will represent an important step toward eliminating terrorism suffered by the peoples of the world without exception", he said.

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The president will take part in bilateral meetings with the Saudi royal leadership while in the kingdom.

His daughter Ivanka has said the Trump Organisation plans to build hotels in Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where one of his hotel projects collapsed in 2008 amidst a corruption scandal with his local partner Nakheel in 2008.

Hezbollah is close to Iran, Saudi Arabia's main rival for power in the region, and has played a key role in boosting the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad.

"As we bring the world together to confront violent extremist ideology, so too are we working in partnership with our American and Islamic allies to improve the lives of our people and strengthen our collective economies", stated the official website for the Riyadh Summit. The agreement will provide tanks, ships, and missile defense systems to the kingdom in an attempt to bolster its regional military prowess.

In the address, set to take place in Riyadh on Sunday, Trump will cast aside the disparaging remarks against Muslims he made as a presidential candidate in favor of a call for unity with USA allies in the Middle East.

And in Sicily, the president will meet with the other leaders of the G7, a gathering of Western economic powers. "It does allow the president to detach a little bit from the heated political debate here in the United States and help him lay out how he's going to engage in two very critical regions in the world".

Trump - who arrived in Saudi Arabia's Capital today- has chose to speak about Islam in his address to the 54 leaders scheduled to attend the Riyadh summit. It notably refrains from mentioning democracy and human rights - topics Arab leaders often view as USA moralizing - in favor of the more limited goals of peace and stability.

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