Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Trump's first foreign trip has high stakes at each stop

Trump's first foreign trip has high stakes at each stop

Saudi Arabia is rolling out the red carpet for Mr. Trump, who arrives in Riyadh on Saturday for a two-day visit that marks the start of his first foreign trip as president.

"Though ties have historically been strong, nothing of this scale and depth has ever happened before", said John Sfakianakis, a director at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh.

Political analyst Bernard Haykal stated that contrary to former President Barack Obama's administration, Trump is completely aware that confronting Iran and ISIS can not be successful without the Saudi alliance.

Trump - who will also visit Israel, Belgium and Italy during the trip - will join a short list of presidents who chose not to visit a U.S. neighbor before traveling further afield.

Among the invitees is al-Bashir of Sudan, although it remains unclear whether he will attend or, if he does, whether he will meet Trump. The eight-day itinerary includes visits to religious sites as well as meetings with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the G7. A website for the visit was launched in English, Arabic and French, featuring a countdown clock under the banner: "Together we prevail".

Along the way he will meet with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, King Philippe of Belgium and the leaders of the G7 countries, among others.

The tour, which comes days after a Justice Department special prosecutor began work investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation, marks Trump's first overseas trip since taking office.

"The Saudis are rolling out the red carpet for President Trump", Saudi analyst Gregory Gause, a professor at Texas A & M University, told NPR.

How does Trump really feel about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation?

"He strongly believes that it is the strength of the faith of people in these religions that will stand up and ultimately be victorious over these forces of terrorism", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

For leaders looking to please the president as he makes his debut on the world stage, The New York Times has published a list of tips for meeting with Trump.

"So anything that's poorly worded could get him in trouble", said Brady. "Confronting Iran and ISIS needs to take place through the alliance with Saudi Arabia".

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its ensuing polices in the region led to the creation of the Islamic State (IS), which swept over large territories in Iraq and Syria, experts said.

"The way we've engaged the world has been strictly in material terms", said Robert Nicholson, founder of the Philos Project, which promotes greater religious engagement in the Middle East. Partnership agreements in energy and technology will likely be signed.

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