Trump to agree $100bn arms deal with Saudis

by Garry Watts May 17, 2017, 13:04

16 de mayo de 2017, 17:13Riyadh, May 16 (Prensa Latina) King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz, said today that the meeting that US President Donald Trump will hold here with leaders of around 30 Arab and Islamic countries will be successful in increasing cooperation.

Trump will leave for Saudi Arabia on Friday to start his first foreign trip as president, the Hill reported.

The speech will come during an afternoon lunch with leaders of more than 50 countries with mostly Muslim populations, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster announced May 16. Taken together with Trump's visit to Riyadh, these arms sales send the worst possible message and deepen USA complicity in the Saudi-led war at a time when the us needs to be extricating itself from it. Critics claim the visit is created to offset anti-Muslim rhetoric that played so heavily into Mr. Trump's election campaign and fueled two hamstrung efforts to institute a travel ban from several majority-Muslim countries. It is also aimed at demonstrating America's commitment to our Muslim partners, McMaster also said.

Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the USA, praised the decision during a speech last week, telling a counterterrorism symposium at the Middle East Policy Council in Washington that it reinforces the solid diplomatic and national security ties between Washington and Riyadh going back decades.

Ali Shihabi, a pro-Saudi commentator, sees this visit as a solid USA commitment to defending the Gulf monarchies from Iran, ISIS and Al Qaeda, which in his view are making a determined effort to bring down the monarchies that "constitute the front line in the battle against terrorism".

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Unease at Mr Trump's failed attempt to ban citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries could still linger.

US President Donald Trump (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in February.

The king, during the weekly Cabinet meeting, welcomed the pending visit of Trump and other Arab and Islamic leaders to the Kingdom.

On the same day, Trump is meeting Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Bethlehem on the West Bank where McMaster said the president wants to continue pursuit of an agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The one area where this approach might work is pushing forward the Israel-Palestine peace process. "He will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and say a prayer at the Western Wall", McMaster said.

"He looks forward to celebrating the rich contributions of Catholics to America and to the world, and to discussing a range of issues of mutual concern", he said.

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