Trump visit draws country singer Toby Keith to Saudi Arabia

19 May, 2017, 18:20 | Author: Benny Bass

Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia will reinforce the "strategic partnership" between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. while boosting their joint fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, the kingdom's foreign minister has said.

Last year, President Barack Obama received a less than warm welcome in Saudi Arabia.

President Donald Trump leaves today for a nine-day, five-city foreign excursion, his first trip outside of the United States as the country's leader and top diplomat. Not only that, the phone conversation also stressed the long-term friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries and highlighted the necessity to boost mutual efforts to fight terrorism and formulate the bases of peace to the region's crises. "Riyadh agrees with US' administrative view in regard to the role placed by the USA in uprooting terrorism", Al-Jubeir said.

The kingdom hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims annually at holy sites in Mecca and Medina - a fact that Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, noted when announcing Trump's decision to visit Saudi Arabia first.

Graham says past American presidents have been reluctant to pressure the Saudis because of various military and economic partnerships between our two countries.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said that the three forthcoming summits with the U.S. in Riyadh offer a strong signal of a positive change in the dialogue between the Muslim world and the West. Riyadh is the first stop of his foreign tour. The Trump administration has heavily criticised the West's nuclear agreement with Iran that was backed by Obama. Senior administration officials have also criticized Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, its ballistic missile activities and backing for militant groups in the region.

Keith, who played at Trump's pre-inaugural celebration, will be performing in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Saturday, his publicist confirmed to NBC News.

Growing ties with Saudi Arabia, which follows Sunni Islam as a state religion, are likely to anger the Shia Muslim world - particularly Riyadh's enemy Iran.

The White House touts a "historic" trip during which Trump - in visits to Saudi Arabia, the Vatican and Jerusalem - will reach out to leaders of the world's major monotheistic faiths.

"We share a very, very large amount of intelligence with the United States and vice versa", Jubeir said.

President Trump had maintained an extremely negative view of Saudi Arabia for years before being sworn in as president, saying that he was "definitely not a big fan" of the kingdom, and that the United States should not be working to "support Saudi terrorists".

"The common interests of these global leaders are what bring them together in Riyadh", he said, including issues ranging from terrorism to rekindling US ties post-Obama.

His planned attendance at Sunday's summit of Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh had drawn strong criticism from Washington.

Arab-Islamic-American Summit, which will be attended by 37 leaders, will focus on combating terrorism, bolstering trade, investment, youth and technology, Xinhua quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir as saying.

The summit will address three critical areas of concern: US-Saudi relations, US-GCC relations and Islamic-American relations.

By contrast, it could also serve as a much-needed change of subject for a president besieged at home with an agenda frozen by scandal.

The summit is part of preparations for a new USA strategy mobilising the Muslim world against the Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State group, as well as against Iran-backed militias such as Lebanon-based Hezbollah, said Mustafa Alani, a senior adviser to the Gulf Research Centre.

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