Trump heads for Saudi Arabia on first foreign tour

Trump heads for Saudi Arabia on first foreign tour

US President Donald Trump leaves for Saudi Arabia shortly on his first foreign trip since becoming president.

His eight-day trip will also take in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Brussels, the Vatican and Sicily.

It comes as Mr Trump faces uproar at home following his sacking of FBI director James Comey.

He has strongly criticised the decision to appoint a special counsel to oversee an inquiry into alleged Russian influence on the US election.

The trip takes in the capitals of the three major monotheistic religions - Islam, Judaism and Christianity.


On Monday, Mr Trump will fly to Tel Aviv and travel on to Jerusalem where he will meet President Reuven Rivlin.

Trump heads for Saudi Arabia on first foreign tour

He is due to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well as the Western Wall before holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Observers will be watching to see if Mr Trump refers to his announcement during the election campaign, that he would break with decades of US policy and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive and complex issues within the Middle East conflict and no country in the world currently has its embassy there.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump will travel to Bethlehem in the West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Peace talks with Israel will top the agenda and Mr Trump is expected to express his support for Palestinian "self-determination".

After talks with EU leaders and France's new President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Trump will attend a meeting of Nato leaders.

This will be closely watched after Mr Trump's conflicting pronouncements on the alliance. During his campaign, he called Nato "obsolete" although in April he reversed his stance.

The US leader is expected to repeat his demand that other Nato members increase their contributions.

Trump heads for Saudi Arabia on first foreign tour

The last stop on Mr Trump's tour will be the picturesque Sicilian town of Taormina where he will attend a G7 summit.

Correspondents say the other G7 leaders are eager to hear Mr Trump's thoughts on trade and other issues at first hand.

Mr McMaster has said that the president will "press America's economic agenda and call for greater security co-operation".



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