Saudi Arabia counting down the seconds until Trump arrives

Saudi Arabia counting down the seconds until Trump arrives

Trump is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia this weekend for his first overseas trip as president, which will also include stops in Israel and the Vatican. US and Saudi officials are eager to highlight the powerful symbolism of an American president choosing to visit the birthplace of Islam as his first stop rather than to neighbors Canada or Mexico.

Stephen Miller will write President Trump's speech on Islam and "radical ideology", set to be delivered when Trump visits Saudi Arabia later this month on his first foreign trip.

Gulf Arab states are optimistic about Trump whom they see as a hawkish leader opposed to their adversary Iran.

The idea of an “Arab NATO” has been bandied about for years - and has always had strong Saudi support - but until now was never openly endorsed by the US government. The Saudi government has long denied involvement.

He notes that the Saudis have also invited dozens of leaders from other Islamic countries, giving the president the chance to reset relations. "We share with the president a vision that Iranian subversive activities in the region should be stopped".

Officials said the concept fits three major tenants of Trumps “America First” foreign-policy frame: asserting more American leadership in the region, shifting the financial burden of security to allies and providing for at home (through the massive arms sales). All of the GCC countries except Oman are part of a Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing an Iranian-allied faction in Yemen for more than two years.

In a shock twist, the information reportedly came from a United States ally who had not authorized Washington to share it with Moscow, a potential blow to intelligence relationships based on trust that secrets will be kept.

Given Mr Trump's contradictory statements about Muslims leading up to his election last November, this summit will be an important chance for the new president to hear about the perspectives from the Muslim world about the challenges facing the worldwide community. That evening, the president and the first lady will join members of the Saudi royal family for an official dinner.

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The speech will come during an afternoon lunch with leaders of more than 50 countries with mostly Muslim populations, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster announced May 16.

The senior clergy have denounced militant Islamic doctrines, such as those of al Qaeda or Islamic State, but still preach intolerant views.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia, is hosting a business forum with CEOs from companies including GE and Dow Chemical, AP reported. New licenses for US companies to operate in the Kingdom also will be issued.

Sudan has been under USA financial sanctions since the 1990s after being accused of state-sponsored terrorism.

General Electric Co is due to sign several memoranda of understanding.

The most concrete part of the idea is a mammoth US arms package for Saudi Arabia that Trump will also announce in Riyadh.

"We are in the final stages of a series of deals".

So the plan appears to be that young people in Saudi Arabia will have some kind of dialogue with the president, and the youngsters can live-tweet whatever the president says.

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