Saudi Arabia counting down the seconds until Trump arrives

Trump's first foreign trip as President - an expansive 11-day, five-country jaunt coming days after the Russian Federation story and a week after he fired his Federal Bureau of Investigation chief - will begin in Saudi Arabia, where, following a day of arrival ceremonies and bilateral meetings with King Salman and other Saudi leaders, he will deliver a speech to the leaders of 50 Muslims countries.

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.

In addition, King Salman has invited more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders to attend a summit on May 21, just as USA federal courts are weighing the president's revised travel executive order, which would suspend the entry of people from six Muslim-majority nations to review screening measures.

On Sunday, "Trump will hold bilateral meetings with GCC leaders, as well as broader meetings with Gulf state leaders".

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In addition, Saudi Arabia remains a key USA investor and trading partner, and is the largest recipient of American-made arms. "If he says too much about it, he could conceivably offend some of those who are there", Abrams said Monday in a conference call with reporters.

After the Vatican, the trip takes a secular turn with a visit to Belgium to meet European Union officials and attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit on May 24-25.

In Jerusalem, Trump will lay a wreath at Yad Vashem and deliver remarks at the Israeli Museum before having a private dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The US and Saudi Arabia have a history of strategic relations stretching back more than 75 years, and this visit is expected to further strengthen those relations.

"He will urge Palestinian leaders to take steps that will help lead to peace".

He will address the summit on his "hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam", the White House said Tuesday.

Thus, US secretary of defence James Mattis declared in Riyadh that the "United States wants to see a strong Saudi Arabia", and added that "there is disorder wherever Iran is present".

He also needs to reinvigorate alliances with Middle Eastern powers that had been neglected by Barack Obama.

However, with weeks to go until the 2017 United Kingdom election, Sir Michael re-stressed the Conservative government's position that Saudi Arabia is an "enormously important trading partner", and refused to clarify whether his party will halt arms sales to the Saudis.

  • Joey Payne