Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Trump aims to strengthen ties in Saudi Arabia visit

Ivanka Trump will travel with the president to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Italy on his upcoming foreign trip.

During his first stop in Saudi Arabia, the president will meet with Saudi officials, as well as members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Ahead of the president's departure, his administration hoped to finalize a weapons sale to the Saudis totaling more than $100 billion. Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent Kevin Sullivan joins us right off the plane from Saudi Arabia - Trump's first stop. Many NATO allies are said to be concerned that Trump's remarks on the alliance and his own domestic troubles are undermining U.S power and image against a rising China and resurgent Russian Federation. Similar to the president, Melania Trump also has a jam-packed schedule during the first family's trip overseas.

The Trumps will kick off the trip in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where Donald Trump and his wife will attend a dinner with the Saudi King Salman's family following Donald Trump's joint meetings with the king, the crown prince and the deputy crown prince Saturday. Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to seek out Trump for a separate meeting during the summit. "And, third, to broadcast a message of unity to America's friends and to the faithful of three of the world's greatest religions". Trump is departing for his first overseas trip.

Al Jazeera's James Bays reports from Washington, DC.

Saudi Arabia is a staunch ally of the U.S. in the Middle East, playing a crucial role in the war against terrorism. Trump made light of his travails - and travels. "Will be strongly protecting American interests - that's what I like to do!" he tweeted shortly before heading out to Air Force One.

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