Trump to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia and Vatican

US President Donald Trump's swing through the Middle East  suggests he is seeking to reinforce alliances with top US allies in the region.
US President Donald Trump's swing through the Middle East suggests he is seeking to reinforce alliances with top US allies in the region.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump will travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel this month as part of his first foreign trip as President, wading directly into the tangled diplomacy of Middle Eastern politics, a senior administration official said yesterday.

He will also stop in Rome to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican as part of the trip, the official said. Senior sources said that Mr Trump was expected to meet the Pope on May 24.

The swing through the Middle East - added to a trip that includes a Nato meeting in Brussels on May 25 and a Group of Seven summit in Sicily on May 26 - suggests Mr Trump is seeking to reinforce alliances with top US allies in the region.

Mr Trump, whose predecessor Barack Obama had a testy relationship with Israel and Saudi Arabia, has made forging peace in the Middle East and fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria a focus of his administration's foreign policy.

He complained in an interview last week that Saudi Arabia was not treating the United States fairly and Washington was losing a "tremendous amount of money" defending the kingdom.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline 'Trump to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia and Vatican'. Print Edition | Subscribe