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Trump visit draws country singer Toby Keith to Saudi Arabia

19 May 2017

Saudi Arabia will be seeking assurances that the Trump administration will continue its harsher tone towards Iran and keep up pressure, through both rhetoric and action, to stop what Riyadh sees as Tehran's destabilizing activities in the region.

The initiative relies on solid bases with Saudi Arabia's unified effort and strategic coordination with Washington and the Islamic world to combat terrorism.

Trump's trip was always going to be dramatic.

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Will the cloud of controversy follow?

The President will be hoping to leave allegations he pressed Mr Comey to drop a probe into his former national security adviser at home, along with claims he passed intelligence to Russian officials as a special counsel takes over investigations into possible meddling by Moscow. And there are likely to be more developments back in Washington even as he's overseas. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir - who has been shunned by the United States for the past decade because of International Criminal Court charges against him for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region - is among those invited. Obama's agenda and announcements on those trips were completely overshadowed by the campaign. "This is a great opportunity for the president to change the subject, to make real news". Saudi Arabia where he's expected to give a major speech on Islam. Thus, the first leg of his trip, at least, Trump is less likely to hear about these things from his hosts.

Teddy Roosevelt, the first president to travel overseas, visited Panama City in November 1906. During the campaign he returned to Trump Tower in NY most nights, even if he was campaigning on the other end of the country.

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Finally, the president's trip will wrap up in Europe where his shifting pronouncements on Brexit, NATO and the future of the European Union have sown confusion among longstanding allies. How will he adapt? Saudi Arabia is also considering opening its doors to a Six Flags Theme park.

A first summit on Saturday will see Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz meet with Trump; the second will include Trump and Arab Gulf leaders; and a third will see the USA president sit down with various Arab and Muslim leaders. "This is not a battle about religions". Trump, whose denunciations of Iran have been welcomed by the Saudis, wants to frame the conflict not as one between the West and Islam, but simply between good and evil, according to his aides.

During the trip, Trump will be participating in three summits: the first between himself and Saudi King Salman, the second with the leadership of the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the third with heads of state and high officials from a number of Arab and Muslim states.

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