Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Saudi to sign trade, political deals with USA during Donald Trump's visit

Even before Trump's trip morphed from a quick jaunt to Europe into a nine-day behemoth, White House aides were on edge about how the president would take to grueling pressures of foreign travel: the time zone changes, the unfamiliar hotels, the local delicacies.

Donald Trump's speech to Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia is being written by the man for orchestrated the President's failed 'Muslim ban'. After departing Friday on an overnight flight on Air Force One, Trump will hopscotch from Saudi Arabia to Israel to the Vatican.

Christiane Amanpour, chief worldwide correspondent for CNN, looks ahead to Trump first foreign trip on Friday.

"There has never been a president taking his first global trip being dogged by scandal like this", said Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. They've run the gamut from sharing of sensitive national security information with Russian officials to the disclosure that his former national security adviser was being paid by Turkish interests when he made a key foreign policy decision.

Though the Saudi government is framing Trump's visit around a theme of friendship with Washington, prominent Saudis say it boils down to strategic interests. In Yemen, the White House intends to provide more weapons to Riyadh but has not signalled any intention to enter the fight against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

US President will meet Palestinian officials in the West Bank town of Bethlehem next week, after talks with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem, McMaster said. Events like G7 and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meetings are typically choreographed affairs in which everyone knows what everyone else will say in advance, but no one is sure just what to expect from Trump. The latter visited Trump in Washington in April and told The Washington Post that Trump is "a president who will bring America back to the right track".

Mr Trump has also called on Riyadh to carry more of the financial burden of the Syrian refugee crisis and people displaced from Mosul, providing troops to train anti-ISIL groups in Syria and reconstruction. "Extremists feed on one another", said McCants. Contracts unveiled this weekend could well eclipse those deals, Sfakianakis said.

In other words, Trump's visit could just be business as usual for an American president - something that would suit everyone involved.

Trump is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, from Saturday on his first foreign trip since taking office in January.

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