Published: Fri, May 05, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia, Vatican, meet with pope

Trump to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia, Vatican, meet with pope

After receiving a lot visitors at the White House, President Donald Trump is getting ready to make his first foreign trip as president.

President Donald Trump's first foreign trip will include stops in Israel, the Vatican and Saudi Arabia before visits to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a summit in Italy.

Mr Trump on Wednesday hosted Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at the White House, pledging to help end the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The post Trump to go to Israel, Vatican and Saudi Arabia during first foreign trip appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

"Tolerance is the cornerstone of peace", Mr. Trump said at a ceremony at the White House.

"I think what the president has demonstrated already and will be able to demonstrate further on this trip is that "America first" is fully compatible with American leadership in the world", one official said.

He has also committed to attending the Group of 20 summit in July in Hamburg - where the Kremlin has said Russian President Vladimir Putin expects to meet with him - and three security and economic summits in Vietnam and the Philippines in November.

He thinks he's up to the task. They will "discuss cooperation between the United States and religious communities in areas of joint concern", the White House said.

He also met Thursday with Roman Catholic cardinals. Trump responded that it was "disgraceful" for a religious person to question someone's faith.

The weeklong trip will mark the president's first trip overseas and come about six weeks after the USA launched Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian air base in the aftermath of a chemical weapons attack in the war-ravaged country.

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Mr Abbas echoed Mr Trump's upbeat tone.

Instead, he will sink or swim.

Saudi Arabia's powerful Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Trump in Washington in March in a visit hailed by a senior Saudi advisor as a "historical turning point" in U.S. -Saudi relations. The Pope has been deeply critical of Trump's campaign rhetoric in the past.

Mr Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had a testy relationship with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Another Trump administration official said the administration had not signed off on the proposed sale.

From there Trump will travel to the Vatican, where he will be received by Pope Francis on 24 May.

He told the newly inaugurated president he prayed "that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation's commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide".

Trump will cap off his tour with previously announced visits to Brussels, Belgium for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit and Sicily, Italy for a Group of Seven meeting.

Trump could reverse a trend of increased travel for presidents in the last 50 years or so.

The president was said to be planning a major speech while in Israel at the ancient fortress known as Masada, and was also weighing a visit to Bethlehem, the source of significant tension between Israeli and Palestinian officials.

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