White House announces Trump visit to Israel on first trip overseas

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump and Palestinian President Mahmud shake hands in the Roosevelt Room during a joint statement at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2017.

On Thursday, the White House announced that President Donald Trump will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican later this month during his first trip overseas as president.

Mr Trump has also hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, and said he was "committed" to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach a peace agreement.

His visit will also give him the opportunity to connect with Roman Catholics with his visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

The White House had said previously that Trump would travel to Belgium for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting and Italy for the G7 summit before Memorial Day.

"Frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia", he said.

When asked whether the trip would include discussions about moving the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Israel, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders didn't provide details.

"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.

Riyadh and Washington had a testier relationship under former Democratic President Barack Obama's administration, which Saudi Arabia felt placed less importance on the Saudi-US relationship than on securing a nuclear deal with Iran.

"We thought that that was a good place to start and look one of the biggest problems that we face in the world today is radical extremism and we have to combat", said the official.

"It's a clear and powerful message that the United States harbors no ill will toward the Arab and Muslim world", he said.

Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia will be historic "by every measure", said that country's foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.

"Hopefully something terrific can come out between the Palestinians and Israel", said the Trump at the meeting. The US is also now Saudi Arabia's main arms' source, but the two countries wish to strengthen their ties. It sends a strong signal to Israel and the world about Trump's willingness to work on peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

He has also suggested he will pay reciprocal visits to the United Kingdom and Japan, whose leaders visited the White House during Trump's first month in office.

The two leaders will discuss a range of regional issues, including the need to counter the threats posed by Iran and its proxies, and by the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, he said. Abbas noted that demand when he joined Trump at the White House.

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