JEDDAH — US President Donald Trump’s decision to make Saudi Arabia the first stop of his maiden overseas trip shows his strong desire to build robust ties with the Islamic world and work with Muslim leaders to defeat terrorism.
The decision can also be attributed to 10 factors:
The Kingdom is a strong regional and global player. It is the number one source of oil in the world. It has built effective Arab and Islamic alliances. It has great financial reserve. It has large international investments. The Kingdom and the United States have a convergence of views on many issues. It is in the forefront of combatting extremism, violence and terrorism. It is a main member of the Military Intervention against Daesh. It is an important G-20 member.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir viewed Trump’s decision to visit the Kingdom as the first foreign country as a historical move toward a partnership between the United States and the Arab and Islamic world.
“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.”
“It will lead to, we believe, 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,” Jubeir said.
Trump has also vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, a feat successive US presidents have failed to achieve.
Jubeir said traditional diplomacy had failed in brokering peace and that therefore a “fresh approach” by Trump could have a high chance of succeeding.
“I believe that, given his creative thinking and given his unconventional approach to this conflict, the probability that he can succeed is very high,” Jubeir said. “We are committed to doing everything we can in order to achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians based on the Arab peace initiative and a solution that involves two states.”
Trump’s decision indicates that Riyadh is Washington’s key to achieve its goals in the Middle East.
Trump’s decision was met with praise in Western media as the Kingdom has great significance in the Arab and Islamic region.