Nawaz Sharif to leave for Saudi Arabia tomorrow, could meet Donald Trump
May 20 2017 by Johnnie Parsons
As he leaves for Saudi Arabia on Friday afternoon, Trump posted a tweet "Getting ready for my big foreign trip".
TRT World'sJohn Brain has more from Riyadh.
"President Trump understands that America First does not mean American alone - to the contrary", insisted his national security advisor, H.R. McMaster.
The two men were then expected to have a bilateral meeting.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that Trump's domestic troubles wouldn't hamper his diplomacy. She said in a statement that she looks forward to not only supporting her husband on matters of foreign affairs and security, but to meet with women and children "from different countries who have different perspectives". The nine-day trip will be his longest since he became president. Thus, this is the most important goal behind the American summit with the Arabs and Muslims that will be held in Saudi Arabia. But it's increasingly clear that the swirl of controversy will shadow Trump during his stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, the Vatican and Belgium.
Like British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on their recent visits to Saudi Arabia, Mrs Trump and Ivanka Trump did not wear headscarves.
The last stop on Mr Trump's tour will be the picturesque Sicilian town of Taormina where he will attend a G7 summit.
The eight-day tour, including four countries in the Middle East and Europe, comes hours after Mr Trump said he was the victim of the "greatest political witch-hunt in USA history".
Administration officials believe Trump's decision to begin his trip in Saudi Arabia sends a powerful message to the kingdom: the strained ties that marked U.S. -Saudi relations under Obama are over.
The President and his entourage departed from Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta on the Presidential Aircraft at 1 p.m. local time. A five-story image of Trump's face was projected on the exterior of the Ritz Carlton hotel where he'll stay, and large billboards of Trump and King Salman lined the highway from the airport.
"Saudi Arabia, by following an ambitious strategy, seeks to invest in information and advanced technology in broadcasting the event via new media for recipients everywhere, and this is in line with the efforts of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 to create a comprehensive renaissance in all areas, notably the development of the economy and the encouragement of foreign investment", said the minister. They exchanged a handshake and Trump said it was "a great honor" to be there. Jets flew overhead and left a trail of red, white and blue smoke as the the two walked down a red carpet and into the airport terminal.
Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer said the President edited the speech with his aides during the 14-hour journey from Washington.
Abandoning some of the harsh anti-Muslim rhetoric of his presidential campaign, the draft of the speech, slated to be delivered in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, envisions new partnerships with America's traditional allies in the Middle East.
The visit is aimed at building stronger partnerships to combat terrorism in the region.
Trump remains popular in the Gulf, where leaders hope he'll take a harder line on Iran than Obama did.
For one thing, Trump was highly vocal in his opposition to President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran; the Saudis strongly opposed that deal.
Other American analysts went on to say that Trump's speech in the Saudi capital would represent a roadmap for the US Administration's policies in the Islamic world, and its war against terrorism and extremism.
I will also meet with friends and allies in Europe at a gathering of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Brussels and at the G-7 Summit in Italy.