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Saudi Arabia First Stop of Trump International Trip - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Washington, London – US President Donald Trump will kick off his first international trip as president by visiting Saudi Arabia later this month, a stop, which he said, would be historic.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the White House said that in addition to Saudi Arabia, the president’s tour includes Israel and the Vatican.

The three stops would be added to Trump’s participation in a NATO meeting in Brussels on May 25 and the G-7 summit in Sicily the following day.

From the White House Rose Garden, Trump said he would go to “Saudi Arabia, then Israel, and then to a place that my cardinals love very much, Rome.”

Trump said he would start a “truly historic gathering in Saudi Arabia with leaders from all across the Muslim world.”

He added: “It is there that we will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies, to combat extremism, terrorism and violence, and to embrace a more just and hopeful future for young Muslims in their countries.”

The White House said on Thursday that Trump has accepted the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia later this month.

“The visit will reaffirm the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and allow the leaders to discuss issues of strategic concern, including efforts to defeat terrorist groups and discredit radical ideologies,” it said.

Trump is expected to travel with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and White House Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives Dina Powell.

Senior administration officials said Trump chose Saudi Arabia as his first stop to show the special status of Saudi Arabia and his commitment to improving US relations with the Muslim world.

In Saudi Arabia, Trump will discuss with Saudi leaders efforts to defeat terrorism and discredit radical ideologies, the officials said.