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Donald Trump had a ‘historic’ trip to Middle East and Europe: White House

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-05-2017 Lalit K Jha

Washington: The maiden foreign visit of US President Donald Trump to the Middle East and Europe was an incredibly “historic” trip during which he interacted with a record 100 leaders, the White House has said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the nine- day trip that took Trump to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican, Belgium and Italy set the stage for a much more safe and prosperous America and a more peaceful world for all.

“This was an extraordinarily successful and historic nine-day trip the President took. He accomplished the return of a strong America to international affairs, rallied civilised nations of the world against terrorism, took real steps towards peace in the Middle East, and renewed our alliances on the basis of both shared interest and shared burdens,” he said on Trump’s meeting with nearly 100 foreign leaders.

Spicer claimed the visit showed how quickly and decisively the President acted to strengthen alliances, to form new partnerships, and to rebuild America’s standing in the world. “We’ve never seen before at this point in a presidency such sweeping reassurance of American interest, and the inauguration of a foreign policy strategy designed to bring back the world from growing dangers and perpetual disasters brought on by years of failed leadership,” Spicer said.

Trump began his trip from Saudi Arabia, a nation that is the custodian to two of the holiest sites in Islam. “The President was greeted on the tarmac by the King of Saudi Arabia and received with incredible graciousness by the Kingdom and its leaders throughout his stay,” Spicer said.

He said Trump’s address to the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations was a turning point that people will talk about for many years to come. Spicer said Trump did exactly as he promised in his inaugural address by uniting the civilised world in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

“The president was very direct in calling on the leaders of the region to drive out the terrorists and the extremists from their midst, and to isolate the Iranian regime that supports so much of this violence,” Spicer said on Tuesday. “He let American allies know exactly what they can expect from us going forward—what he called ‘a principled realism, rooted in common values and shared interests’,” he said, adding that the president laid out the case in persuasive detail for why the Muslim world must take the lead in combating radicalisation. The visit also included historic economic development deals for the United States, totalling well over half a trillion dollars and the creation of tens of thousands of American jobs, Spicer said.

These deals included an immediate $110 billion investment, which will grow to $350 billion over the next 10 years, in defence cooperation from Saudi Arabia that will enable Muslim troops to take on a greater role in further fighting terrorism, he added.

Spicer said Trump also participated in the launch of a new task force to block terror funding in the Gulf, the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, and more than 30 commercial deals that will result in an additional $270 billion of Saudi investment in American businesses and American jobs. Trump went to Israel, where he was received with incredible warmth, he said.

“He strengthened America’s unbreakable bonds with Israel, made the first-ever visit by a sitting American President to the Western Wall, and gave a highly praised address at the Israel Museum as part of a continuing effort to rally nations together in the fight against terrorism and common enemies,” he said.

In his meetings with the Israeli and Palestine leaders, Trump advocated for a renewed push for peace - which they both agreed they were prepared to work towards. “He also discussed with both leaders how to increase cooperation against terrorism,” he said. “Prime Minister Netanyahu said for the first time in my life I see a real hope for change,” he said, adding that a leading Israeli publications wrote that “in the short space of three days, Trump carried out a semi-revolution”.

In Vatican, Trump had a very productive conversation about combating ISIS and other terrorist groups, protecting religious liberty, and numerous other issues with the Pope. “Hardworking Americans saw a leader representing them and their security on the international stage,” he said.

In his NATO meetings, Trump also urged NATO to adapt the alliance to more effectively combat terrorism, he said. Finally, Trump travelled to the G7 Summit in Sicily, where he and other leaders discussed how to better promote prosperity and security for each of their countries, he said.

“Those meetings were marked by outstanding success that we see reflected in the communique that was issued. They include a strong statement that G7 nations will stand against unfair trade practices, and a commitment to fostering a true level playing field,” Spicer said.

“The G7 leaders also endorsed the right of sovereign nations to control their borders, and endorsed in that communique the policy outlined by President Trump to seek resettlement of refugees as close as possible to their home countries so that they can be part of their eventual rebuilding. This language on migration and refugees was a major shift in policy toward the position of the President,” he said. Trump also met with Prime Minister Shinjo Abe of Japan wherein the two agreed on the need for enhanced sanctions against North Korea.

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