Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Trump to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel & Vatican in first overseas presidential trip

Pope urges Vatican communications to go digital amid ongoing reform Trump to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel & Vatican in first overseas presidential trip
Warren Dawson | 07 May, 2017, 13:55

Saudi Arabia was the driver of the visit there, the officials said, with King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz inviting regional Muslim leaders to meet with the president.

Trump's visit to Rome will mark the first time he and Pope Francis have spoken.

In Saudi Arabia, a White House official said Trump would meet with Saudi and other Arab leaders.

While campaigning in February 2016 to become the Republican Party's nominee for the White House, Trump and the pontiff had a heated and extraordinary exchange through the media.

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.

In Israel, Trump will "reinforce the strong alliance that we have with the Israeli people, and then we are going to talk a little bit about the peace process with the Palestinians and how we plan to go forward".

Officials declined to say where Trump would meet with Abbas, and also said exact dates and other details of the trip would be provided later.

Trump will take his first foreign trip late May, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The previous day, Trump met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, and pledged to help forge a peace deal in the region.

"What he wants to do is solve the same problem that a lot of the leaders in the Islamic world want to do", an official said during a briefing, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Jury awards $110 million in J&J baby powder case
According to the Associated Press , this is the largest settlement in a string of Johnson & Johnson baby powder cases. J&J's stock barely budged in pre-market trading in the U.S. on Friday, falling 0.1 per cent to US$123.87.

Despite this and a so-called "Muslim ban" being put in place by Trump, Gulf states appear to have warmed to the new president.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frequently praised Trump.

In his first 100 days, former President Barack Obama had visited nine foreign countries.

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".

A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.

Trump will receive an audience with Pope Francis during his visit to the Holy See on May 24, the Vatican announced.

"It seems to me part of a conscious effort to draw a distinction between the Trump administration and its predecessor", said Eric Pelofsky, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Obama's National Security Council senior director for North Africa and Yemen told AFP.

If there's reluctance on either Trump's or Francis's side for the meeting, it wouldn't be surprising.

Last year, in response to an answer about then-candidate Trump's views on immigration and his intention to build a wall on the border with Mexico, Francis said a man with those views is "not Christian".Trump, who grew up in a Presbyterian family, shot back saying it was "disgraceful" for the pope to question his faith.

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