Big Lines From Trump's Saudi Speech

22 Mai, 2017, 10:26 | Author: Marc Bacque
  • First Lady Melania Trump high-fives a child during a visit to the American International School

The summit is being attended by around three dozen leaders of Islamic countries, including the prime ministers of Bangladesh and Malaysia, and presidents of Afghanistan, Egypt, as well as US President Trump. The Saudis said at least 37 leaders are present, NPR's Jane Arraf reported from Riyadh.

He said the U.S. sought a "coalition of nations" in the Middle East with the aim of "stamping out extremism".

The president put much of the onus for combating extremists on Mideast leaders: "Drive them out of your places of worship".

"Drive them out", Trump said.

Reasserting Islam as a religion of "peace and tolerance", the king emphasized that Saudi Arabia shares "the same objectives with Donald Trump to fight terrorism and extremism". "There can be no tolerating it". Trump said the two countries "have a wonderful relationship" but that "there has been a little strain" and vowed to improve things further.

"We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes - not inflexible ideology".

"I think the United States needs to decide what it wants from this relationship with Saudi Arabia".

He called for "gradual reforms, not sudden intervention".

This speech is closely watched in the region, especially in light of Trump's attempt earlier this year to halt travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump has retreated from a campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, bending to the same diplomatic and security concerns as other presidents who have made similar promises.

"I am reassured that there wasn't anything extremely offensive said about Islam", Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Weekend Edition Sunday. Instead, he seethed at the terrorists who called the region home, though he offered no solutions to prevent radicalisation or entertained any discussion of the sources of disaffection for young Muslims that have led them to turn to violence.

It's a departure from his anti-Muslim rhetoric during his presidential campaign. He said the United Arab Emirates was helping USA efforts in Afghanistan. Trump praised Bahrain and Kuwait for anti-terrorism efforts.

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He said that terrorism must not only be measured by the number of dead, but the number of "vanished dreams".

"It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder", Trump said.

While Riyadh is likely to welcome Trump's tough talk on Iran in his speech, he has yet to follow through on his election pledge to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor and global allies.

While running for the job he now holds, Mr Trump criticised President Barack Obama for not using the term "radical Islamic extremism" and said that refusal indicated Mr Obama did not understand America's enemy.

The anti-Iran rhetoric is welcome to the Saudi royalty. "Great to be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia".

"Frankly, look, we're having problems with the Muslims, and we're having problems with Muslims coming into the country", he told Fox Business Network last March following a series of attacks in Brussels.

THEN: Trump had plenty of harsh words for Saudi Arabia before his election. "We are not here to lecture", he said.

Saudi Arabia's military is leading a campaign against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, and have routinely been accused of indiscriminate targeting by human rights organizations. Thousands of civilians have been killed during the conflict. The 81-year-old King Salman, who used a cane for support, was brought to the steps of the plane in a golf cart. "Saudi Arabia giving $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries".

Billboards featuring images of Trump and the king and emblazoned with the motto "Together we prevail", dotted Riyadh's highways, and Trump's hotel was bathed in red, white and blue lights and, at times, an image of the president's face.

On Saturday, Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signed an arms deal worth $109 billion, part of a broader $350 billion package of economic and defense investments over the next decade.


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