Trump to speak of need to confront Islamic extremism in Saudi visit

Trump to speak of need to confront Islamic extremism in Saudi visit

President Donald Trump will use the nation that is home to Islam's holiest site as a backdrop to call for Muslim unity in the fight against terrorism Sunday, as he works to build relationships with Arab leaders.

The king has lavished praise and all the trappings of a royal welcome on the new American president, welcoming in particular Mr Trump's pledge to be tougher on Iran than Mr Obama was.

Instead, he used the term "Islamist extremism", which refers to Islamism as political movement rather than Islam as a religion, a distinction that he had frequently criticized the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama for making.

"And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians", he is expected to say.

"Terrorism has spread across the world".

"The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries and frankly for their families and for their children", he said.

Though during the campaign he repeatedly stressed the need to say the words "radical Islamic terrorism" - and criticized his opponent, Hillary Clinton, for not doing so - that phrase is not included in the draft.

The United States and Gulf Arab countries agreed on Sunday to coordinate their efforts against the financing of terrorist groups, a key White House objective.

Ahead of a full meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the US and its six member nations exchanged a memorandum of understanding outlining each's commitment to move against terror financing.

Trump will meet with leaders from Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait, and other countries before delivering a speech on fighting extremism.

"Many of us sitting on the table are overseeing substantial investments in the United States", Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said.

Trump's two day trip to the Saudi capital can be neatly divided in half. "Love your shoes. Boy, those shoes", he said.

Separately he told Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani they would discuss "lots of handsome military equipment because nobody makes it like the United States".

First lady Melania Trump paid a visit to the American International School in Riyadh on Sunday while her husband held a series of bilateral meetings with Arab leaders.

Trump has shown a willingness to overlook foreign leaders' human rights abuses.

A $110 billion deal in which Saudi Arabia will buy United States arms to help it counter Iran, with options for as much as $350 billion over 10 years, was the central achievement of Trump's first day in Riyadh, first stop on a nine-day journey through the Middle East and Europe.

Trump arrived in Riyadh besieged by the fallout from his controversial decision to fire FBI Director James Comey and more revelations about the federal investigations into his campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation. The New York Times reported the latter was a last-minute addition to the shopping list, after Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, intervened.

Reports have also emerged that Trump called Comey "a nut job" and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation have identified a senior White House official as a "significant person of interest" in its probe of Russian meddling.

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