The White House has announced US President Donald Trump’s travel plans to Saudi Arabia, followed by Israel and the Vatican this month with the aim to “combat extremism, terrorism and violence.”
Trump will take his first foreign trip late May, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement issued on Thursday.
The trip "will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies to combat extremism, terrorism and violence and to embrace a more just and hopeful future for young Muslims in their countries," said Trump in his remarks in the White House Rose Garden.
"Our task is not to dictate to other how to live, but to build a coalition of friends and partners who share the goal of fighting terrorism," he added.
The visit to Saudi Arabia, he said, will include a “truly historic gathering in Saudi Arabia with leaders from all across the Muslim world.”
“Saudi Arabia is the custodian of the two holiest sites in Islam, and it is there that we will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies, to combat extremism, terrorism and violence,” Trump said, “and to embrace a more just and hopeful future for young Muslims in their countries.”
The US president will then travel to Israel, where he has a largely positive relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has always acknowledged Trump's support and recently he praised his military aggression in Syria, and called his actions a “great change in the direction of American policy.”
This is while on Wednesday, the Republican president welcomed Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to the White House to discuss ways to resume the Palestinian-Israeli political process.
“Hopefully something terrific can come out between the Palestinians and Israel,” said Trump at the meeting. He also said he saw a “very good chance” for peace between Israel and Palestine.
The president will finish his visit with what White House officials called a “historic” trip to the Vatican.
Pope Francis once said of Trump, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
It was also known that the president would take a trip to Brussels with a visit to NATO on May 25, followed by a meeting at the G7 summit in Sicily, Italy.