‘A new page’ as US President Donald Trump lands in Saudi Arabia

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King Salman chats with Trump during the official reception for the US president.
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Updated 20 May 2017
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‘A new page’ as US President Donald Trump lands in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: US President Donald Trump has landed in Saudi Arabia for a historic meeting tipped to “turn the page” on US-Arab affairs after a strained relationship under the previous American administration.
 
The president touched down in Riyadh and was welcomed by King Salman and senior Saudi officials.
 
Stepping off Air Force One with his wife, Melania, Trump and his entourage received a red-carpet welcome.
 
Trump and King Salman spoke through an interpreter when they met, as a military brass band played, cannons boomed and seven Saudi jets flew over in V-formation, trailing red, white and blue smoke.
 
The two leaders sat side by side at the VIP section of the airport terminal and drank cups of Arabic coffee.
 
On the drive to the Ritz hotel where Trump is staying, King Salman rode with the president in the heavily armored presidential limousine nicknamed “the Beast.”
 
After a royal banquet, Trump and the king were to have private talks and participate in a signing ceremony for a number of US-Saudi agreements, including a deal worth a reported $100 billion for Saudi Arabia to buy American arms.
 
National oil giant Saudi Aramco is expected to sign $50 billion of deals with US companies on Saturday, part of a drive to diversify the Kingdom’s economy beyond oil exports, Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser said.
 
Trump is to deliver a speech on Sunday aimed at rallying Muslims in the fight against terrorism. His first official foreign trip since taking office will coincide with three key summits on Saturday and Sunday, as well as several business activities, cultural, intellectual and sports celebrations.
 
The Saudi-US Summit on Saturday will feature a series of bilateral meetings between King Salman and Trump, and “focus on re-affirming the long-standing friendship, and strengthening the close political, economic, security and cultural bonds between the two nations.”
 
It will be followed Sunday by the GCC-US Summit, Arab Islamic American Summit, and the inauguration of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.
 
Experts told Arab News that the visit by Trump will boost US-Arab ties after the relationship soured under his predecessor President Barack Obama.
 
“By selecting Saudi Arabia as the first stop on his historic visit, the first official one to any foreign country, President Trump has been prudent to seize an opportunity to turn a new and more positive page toward Arabs and Muslims in the region and beyond,” said John Duke Anthony, founding president and CEO of the National Council on US-Arab Relations.
 
“The president’s visit has a chance to begin healing wounds that have been inflicted on Muslims the world over.”
 
Anthony said that there has been a shift from Trump’s presidential campaign, when he was seen as being openly hostile toward the Muslim world and Kingdom.
 
“As a candidate for the Oval Office, Donald Trump was not shy about criticizing Saudi Arabia. Contexts change, though, and as president, his administration has refrained from unjustified, unnecessary and provocative statements in this regard,” he said.
 
Tensions rose between the Arabian Gulf and the US after the latter brokered the “nuclear deal” with Iran, which some Arab countries claim meddles in regional affairs and sponsors international terrorism.
 
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, a veteran analyst, said that the new US administration has the opportunity to get tough on Tehran.
 
“Iran has taken the region hostage and has blackmailed Washington for many years,” he wrote.
 
“I believe it is in the hands of the current US administration to get Iran to face a new reality, namely that it must stop the spread of chaos and violence in the region and wider world.”


Riyadh, Beirut stress need to confront Islamic extremism

Updated 20 June 2019
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Riyadh, Beirut stress need to confront Islamic extremism

  • Saudi-Lebanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee reaffirms the importance of restoring peace and harmony among all Arab countries

BEIRUT: A delegation from the Saudi Shoura Council, headed by Saleh bin Manea Al-Khalewi, began an official visit to Lebanon on Tuesday, meeting President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

It is the first visit of the council to Lebanon, to convene the first meeting of the Saudi-Lebanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee, headed by Tammam Salam.

Aoun praised “the fraternal relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia,” and reaffirmed “the paramount importance of restoring peace and harmony among all Arab countries, for the benefit of all,” wishing to establish “peace on solid foundations based on the principle of respect for the vital interests of every country.”

He underlined that political differences should not allow deviation from the principles of the Arab League charter, and hailed Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to lift the ban on its citizens traveling to Lebanon in time for the summer season, hoping that the “Kingdom witnesses further success and growth.

“Lebanon is more than ready to cooperate in all areas to achieve this end, especially in the presence of an important Lebanese community in the Kingdom that contributed to its prosperity,” he added.

Al-Khalewi underscored the “historic relations between the two countries and the two brotherly peoples,” emphasizing the importance of the ongoing support provided by the Kingdom to Lebanon. He also praised Aoun’s keenness to build Arab solidarity and consensus.

The committee discussed means of developing cooperation in legislative sectors in the two countries, serving the goal of greater Arab solidarity. Delegates agreed on the need for stability and peace in Arab countries, and the need to confront Islamic extremism leading to domestic and international acts of terrorism.