WASHINGTON — Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Thursday that an upcoming visit to the Kingdom by US President Donald Trump would enhance cooperation between the United States and Muslim countries in the fight against extremism.
Speaking to reporters after the Trump administration said the president would visit Riyadh as well as Israel later this month, Al-Jubeir said Trump had a high probability of succeeding in his efforts to secure a peace deal with Israelis and Palestinians because of his “fresh” approach.
Saudi Arabia will be Trump’s initial stop on his first international trip as president. The move signifies the new administration’s intent to reinforce a relationship with a top ally in the Middle East, where the United States is leading a coalition against dash (the so-called IS) and seeking to counter Iranian influence. Saudi Arabia is part of that coalition.
Describing the visit as historic, Al-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.
“It’s a clear and powerful message that the US harbors no ill will” toward the Arab and Muslim world, he said. “It also lays to rest the notion that America is anti-Muslim. … It’s a very clear message to the world that the US and the Arab Muslim countries can form a partnership.”
The visit, he said, will lead to enhanced cooperation between the US and Arab and Islamic countries in combating terrorism and extremism, and it will change the conversation with regards to America’s relationship with the Arab and Islamic world.
Al-Jubeir also said the Trump administration had taken steps to advance the sale of precision-guided munitions, which had been suspended by the previous US administration over concerns about civilian casualties in the conflict in Yemen.
“The administration has released them and they’re in the process now of working on the notification to the US Congress,” he said.
The sale is expected to include more than $1 billion worth of the munitions made by Raytheon Co, people familiar with the talks have said, including armor-piercing Penetrator warheads and Paveway laser-guided bombs.
A US administration official said the proposed sale was “undergoing interagency review.
“And while we hope to move forward in the near future, it has not, as yet, moved forward toward a congressional notification.” — Agencies