Trump's first foreign trip aims to strengthen relations with allies

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  May 19, 2017 at 9:16 AM
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May 19 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump leaves on Friday for an eight-day tour with his top White House officials to strengthen U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, Belgium and NATO.

After a meeting with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney at 11 a.m., Trump will depart for Riyadh at 2:10 p.m. for his first foreign trip as U.S. president.

After arriving Saturday, Trump will participate in a ceremony before having coffee with King Salman, Trump's national security adviser H.R. McMaster said this week. He will later attend a royal banquet, hold a bilateral meeting with the Saudi king and his top representatives before signing a shared agreement reinforcing U.S.-Saudi security and economic cooperation. The president and first lady Melania Trump will later join the Saudi royal family for an official state dinner.

On Sunday, Trump will meet with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council regional alliance -- comprised of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates -- before a broader meeting with Gulf state leaders.

McMaster said Trump will then have lunch with dozens of leaders of Muslim countries before he delivers "an inspiring, yet direct speech on the need to confront radical ideology and his hopes ... for a peaceful vision of Islam to dominate across the world."

"The speech is intended to unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization and to demonstrate America's commitment to our Muslim partners," McMaster added.

Trump will also participate in the inauguration of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.

The president will then travel to Jerusalem and meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday. He will lay a wreath at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center before speaking at the Israel Museum to "celebrate the unique history of Israel and of the Jewish people, while reaffirming America's unshakeable bond with our closest ally in the Middle East," McMaster said.

Trump will later meet with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu before a private dinner.

On Tuesday, Trump will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem and discuss Mideast peace. Wednesday, he visits Pope Francis at the Vatican before meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella. Thursday, Trump will meet with Belgium's King Philippe, Prime Minister Charles Michel and other officials prior to visiting the European Union headquarters.

Trump also plans to have a working lunch with recently elected French President Emmanuel Macron Thursday, and later meet with NATO leaders, accompanied by Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Trump will stay in Sicily for the final two days of his trip for the G7 summit, where he will speak to U.S. and NATO allied servicemembers and their families.

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