Thursday 21 September 2017

Donald Trump has arrived in Saudi Arabia - here's what you need to know

This is his first foreign visit since assuming the presidency.

By Georgia Humphreys

President Donald Trump has landed in Saudi Arabia as he begins his first foreign visit since taking office.

Trump flew to Riyadh overnight on Air Force One to become the only American president to make Saudi Arabia, or any majority Muslim country, his first stop overseas.

Here’s everything you need to know.

What’s the aim of the visit?

The visit is aimed at building stronger partnerships to combat terrorism in the region.

The scheduling choice is designed in part to show respect to the region after months of harsh anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric.

Trump will address the leaders of Arab and Muslim nations in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

What is he expected to say in his speech?

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According to a draft of a speech obtained by AP, he will say: “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilisations.

“This is a battle between those who seek to obliterate human life and those who seek to protect it,” the text reads. “This is a battle between good and evil.”

The speech envisions new partnerships with America’s traditional allies in the Middle East. It noticeably refrains from mentioning democracy and human rights – topics Arab leaders often view as US moralising – in favour of the more limited goals of peace and stability.

The White House said this is not a final draft and it could change leading up to Sunday’s speech.

What has happened on the visit so far?

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The president and First Lady Melania Trump waved as they stood at the top of stairs that had been rolled to the side of the official presidential aircraft after it landed.

Mr Trump was greeted by King Salman, they exchanged a handshake and the president said it was “a great honour” to be there before they attended a brief coffee ceremony.

The First Lady wore a black pantsuit with a golden belt and did not cover her head, consistent with custom for foreign dignitaries visiting Saudi Arabia.

Where is Trump visiting next?

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The President will also travel to Israel, have an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican and attend the Nato summit in Brussels and the G7 meeting in Sicily.

Press Association

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