November 19 2017

Trump urges Mideast nations to drive out 'Islamic extremism'

November 19 2017, 12:58 | Rex Rios

President Trump just concluded his speech to the assembled leaders of 50 Muslim countries assembled to hear him in Riyadh.

The president, who is on his first foreign tour since taking office, was addressing leaders of Muslim-majority countries at the Arab Islamic US Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

He'll tour a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh on Sunday, and participate in a "Tweeps Forum" meant to combat extremism on social media.

On the subject of refugees, whom Trump has made clear he does not want to come to the United States, the president argued Middle Eastern countries should seek to retain this "human capital" for their own benefit.

Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, at the start of his first trip overseas as president, has produced a number of statements that run counter to the harsh, anti-Muslim rhetoric from his 2016 campaign.

At his news conference, Tillerson said he did not have "any information or knowledge" about an unnamed White House official reported by The Washington Post to be a person of interest to investigators in the Russian Federation case.

"The first is the recognition of the strategic cooperation with Saudi Arabia as the cornerstone through which the USA can further its interests and security. Instead, we are here to offer partnership - based on shared interests and values - to pursue a better future for all of us".

The massive arms deal includes Saudi Arabia's purchase of planes, ships, and precision-guided bombs, as well as new radar systems. There were no promises of new financial investment or announcements of increased USA military presence in the region.

Both the first lady and first daughter Ivanka Trump have been closely watched in Saudi Arabia for both style and substance. President Trump changed their designation - which is about time considering how the Obama administration pussy-footed around with Iran. "Trump is with the Muslims now", he said.

Salman greeted Trump at the airport, a gesture he did not extend to Obama.

But on Sunday, Mr Trump was full of praise for Muslim world's history and culture. "Tremendous investments into the United States, and our military community is very happy". It did not emphasize human rights. The rights group has documented 81 apparently unlawful coalition attacks since the start of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen. "Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until out country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on", he said. "There is a lot of projection and wishfulness in the Gulf view of Trump's America", he said. The U.S. has provided support to the effort by refueling planes and providing intelligence. In contrast, most of the Gulf Arab states are monarchies, and few Arab nations hold regular elections. Thousands of civilians have been killed during the conflict. Around 20 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian relief.

On Sunday he began a series of meetings with other Arab leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Bahrain's King Hamad.

Saudi Arabia says it launched airstrikes against Yemeni rebels known as Houthis in self-defense.

Some are claiming the brief movement by Trump amounts to a bow to Saudi royalty.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the deal was aimed at countering "malign Iranian influence".

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers affiliated with al-Qaeda who murdered almost 3,000 people in NY in 2001 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. The money will help kick off a $1 billion women's empowerment fund that the World Bank will announce in July, he said.

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