Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Trump to visit Israel, the Vatican and Saudi Arabia

Mike Hodges | 07 May, 2017, 01:12

His wife Melania, daughter Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner (who also serves as a middle east adviser) are planning to join him, the Ynet news website reported.

When Trump announced Thursday that he would visit the centers of three great religions on his first foreign trip, his advisers presented it as a sign that the United States planned to marshal a powerful coalition against the forces of intolerance.

On 24t May Bishop of Rome, Francis will receive USA President Donald Trump at the Vatican City.

On the other hand, the official channel Al-Arabiya and the state agency SPA stressed that the visit of May 23 to Riyadh could mark the beginning of the construction of the new foundations to combat terrorism.

The visit to Saudi Arabia, he said, will include a "truly historic gathering in Saudi Arabia with leaders from all across the Muslim world".

Trump himself sought to play off Pope Francis as a puppet of Mexico, calling the supposed questioning of his religious faith "disgraceful" and telling supporters, "So the Mexican government fed the pope a tremendous amount of stuff about 'Trump is not a good person'".

Another official described "a lot of excitement in terms of a desire to engage" with Trump. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the White House. A senior adviser to the Saudi royal called Trump after the visit a "true friend of Muslims who will serve the Muslim World in an unimaginable manner".

Mr Al Jubeir also said Mr Trump had a high probability of securing a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. Trump has promised to make a major effort to resolve the generations-old dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Trump's visit would send a clear message that the USA harbors no ill will toward Muslim countries, which he said was a misconception spread by Iran and extremists like the Islamic State group. Reuters reported on Thursday that the US President will travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel, as well as the Vatican when he journeys overseas for the first time as POTUS.

The Sunni-led Saudis and Shia Iranians are engaged in a regional struggle for influence.

The announcement comes as the Trump administration has resumed the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, which was halted under the Obama administration due to human rights concerns over their use in Yemen.

In Israel, local media said that Trump wants to deliver his main speech at the ancient desert fortress of Masada.

The same senior White House official said Trump has "reversed the disengagement with the world of the previous administration" and that Trump's guiding policy of "America First is fully compatible with American leadership in the world". That meeting may take place in Bethlehem on the West Bank, a short distance from Jerusalem. Francis wants bridges between nations, not the walls Trump is building. Over the weekend the pope told reporters aboard the plane returning from a trip to Egypt that he wasn't aware of any request from Trump for a meeting.

From Rome, Trump will travel to Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit and then to Sicily for a meeting of the Group of Seven economic powers.

The Vatican said Pope Francis would meet Trump on May 24, a discussion that could be awkward given their opposition positions on immigration, refugees, and climate change.

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