Saudi Arabia says Trump visit to bolster cooperation

US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia will reinforce the “strategic partnership” between Saudi Arabia and the US while boosting their joint fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, the kingdom’s foreign minister has said.

Trump’s visit to Riyadh begins on Saturday.

This will the first stop on his maiden international trip since taking office in January and will include political and commercial agreements with Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi foreign minister, said on Thursday.

“It will bolster the strategic partnership between the two countries.”

Referring to ISIL, also known as ISIS, and al-Qaeda, he said: “Saudi Arabia agrees with the US administration’s view in relation to the role of the US in the world and in relation to uprooting terrorism.”

Jubeir said Saudi Arabia and the US are currently discussing several “initiatives” related to arms sales, economic and security cooperation and tackling terrorism.

“Several agreements will be signed, including political agreements … and big economic agreements,” he said.

Saudi Arabia backs Trump’s efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and also agrees with the US on “confronting Iran’s aggressive policies and its support for terrorism”, he said.

Marwan Kabalan, an analyst at the Doha Institute’s Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera the US and Saudi Arabia will discuss a strategic plan aimed at countering extremism as an ideological battle.

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“I think both sides have high expectations of this summit, as they are expected to discuss the most pressing issues for both of them like the conflict in Yemen, the war in Syria and the war on ISIL,” he said.

“Trump is expected to address the entire Islamic world while trying to establish this sort of a strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia, particularly concerning groups like ISIL.”

Apart from Saudi officials, Trump will also meet leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries, including the six nations that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). 

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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