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Sudan's President Invited by Saudi Arabia to Trump Meeting

Sudan's President Invited by Saudi Arabia to Trump Meeting

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to give a major speech on the Islamic faith during his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, home to the religion's major shrines.

McMaster said the speech would be given at a lunch with leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries, although he did not specify what leaders would be in attendance and from what countries. The fact that Trump chose Saudi Arabia and Israel for his first overseas trip shows the importance of the region to him.

Beyond the meeting with Saudi government officials, Trump will meet 56 Arab and Muslim leaders to discuss combating extremism and how to crack down on illicit financing.

US President Trump signed in January an executive order banning entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority states over security threats.

The Saudi regime, which plays a major role in generating and promoting extremist ideologies and has been even convicted by a USA court, is attempting to draw attention away from the realities by holding such gatherings, he added.

Trump will also visit Israel and the Vatican, and later on Brussels and Sicily for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia in April 2016 was overshadowed by Gulf Arab exasperation with his approach to the region, and doubts about Washington's commitment to regional security.

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The leaders of Syria and Iran were not invited to the summit. The Iran nuclear deal is only one of several thorny issues in the Iranian-Saudi relationship with which Mr. Trump will have to contend.

But Mr. Trump's arrival in Riyadh is a signal that this could change quickly, said Ford Fraker, who served as US ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2007 to 2009.

With Iran's return on the worldwide scene and Riyadh's leadership in the Yemen war, Saudi Arabia has multiplied many-folds its defense budget to boost its supremacy in the region.

By contrast, "we don't get criticized about the war in Yemen" by the Trump administration, the senior Saudi official said.

During previous White House visits by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, President Trump committed to taking on the Mideast peace process.

Later, McMaster said, Trump - who has relied heavily on social media to deliver an litany of contradicting and, often times, insulting, messages - will participate in a "Twitter forum with young people".

Given Saudi Arabia's Yemen-centric foreign policy, United States sales are likely to be heavily on warplanes and bombs to drop on northern Yemen, as the conflict has lasted far longer than the Saudis anticipated, and there is little sign they are interested iin extricating themselves from the conflict anytime soon.

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