Trump Begins Muslim Outreach in Tour of World Religious Centers

Trump Begins Muslim Outreach in Tour of World Religious Centers

Describing the visit as historic, Jubeir said Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia would include a bilateral summit, a meeting with Arab Gulf leaders and another with leaders of Arab and Muslim countries.

The stops will come before Trump attends a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels on May 25 and a G7 meeting in Italy on May 26.

In Saudi Arabia, Trump will convene with political and religious leaders from across the Muslim world to sort out how to fight terrorism.

As of April, the White House had not approached the Holy See for an audience with the pope during Trump's trip.

Washington - United States media on Friday turned the spotlight to the first foreign trip by US President Donald Trump, who chose Saudi Arabia to be his first stop.

Trump hailed the planned visits as important to building a coalition of partners who share the goals of fighting terrorism and bringing safety and stability to the Middle East.

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A G7 summit in Sicily will offer Trump the chance to sit down face-to-face with leaders of the world's largest economies. He will visit Jerusalem, Israel, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior administration official.

"President Trump has also accepted the invitation of President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to meet with him to discuss ways to advance peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as efforts to unlock the potential of the Palestinian economy".

After his trip to Israel, Trump will hop on over to Rome and Vatican City to meet Pope Francis, rounding out what in the end will resemble a tour of the Abrahamic religions. Former President Barack Obama visited nine countries by late April 2009, his first three months in office, meeting with allies such as Canada, Britain and Germany.

Politico first reported the details of the trip.

Trump met at the White House in February with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and on Wednesday hosted Abbas.

The senior administration officials said it's a time when the Trump administration can pursue policies that "strengthen our hand and weaken our enemies".

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

Trump himself sought to play off Pope Francis as a puppet of Mexico, calling the supposed questioning of his religious faith "disgraceful" and telling supporters, "So the Mexican government fed the pope a tremendous amount of stuff about 'Trump is not a good person'".

In a background briefing with reporters, a top official admitted that critics often portray Trump as anti-Islam, but the aide said Trump shares many objectives with Muslim majority nations, such as defeating "radical extremism".

The Vatican has also urged Trump to listen to "dissenting voices" on climate change.

During the US election campaign, Francis called then-candidate Trump's plan to protect America by building a wall on Mexico's border "not Christian".

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