Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says the upcoming trip by US President Donald Trump will "reinforce historic partnership" between Riyadh and Washington.
Trump is bucking tradition by journeying away from North America for his first foreign trek - the past five presidents all visited US neighbors Canada or Mexico as their first venture overseas. Trump would be looking to sign "major deals" with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, he added. He will leave Friday.
"This administration is very clear, not just with Saudi Arabia but also with Turkey and other traditional allies, that the idea is to double down on existing relationships and to put allies first", said Mohammed Khalid Alyahya, a Saudi political analyst and nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, a policy research organization.
Longtime Trump watchers are keen to see how he'll handle the many opportunities to stray from the script prepared for him by McMaster and other national security professionals.
CBN News' David Brody will be traveling with the president.
The sojourn overseas, his first foreign trip since taking office in January, may or may not help.
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Trump is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, from Saturday on his first foreign trip since taking office in January.
Both issues provoked criticism of Trump's White House in Israel as preparations intensified for his visit to the country and the Palestinian territories on May 22 and 23. The latter visited Trump in Washington in April and told The Washington Post that Trump is "a president who will bring America back to the right track". "So they want to invest in USA a lot which is good for us to create jobs", the official said.
Saudi officials have spared no effort to elevate the atmosphere around the visit beyond that of a typical USA presidential trip. He'll close his trip with a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily, often-staid affairs that require leaders to be locked in lengthy plenary sessions. Many European leaders were relieved to hear Trump say in an April press conference with Italy's prime minster that the 28-member military alliance is "no longer obsolete".
Teddy Roosevelt, the first president to travel overseas, visited Panama City in November 1906. Anytime Trump meets with a foreign leader, "you don't know what you're going to get", Kupchan said.
The senior administration official said speculation about the impact of the Comey crisis on the trip is overblown, and that the White House doesn't view the trip as an opportunity to redeem the President or change the subject.
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