Trump to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia, Vatican, meet with pope

Before landing in Israel, Trump will visit Saudi Arabia "to reaffirm the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and allow the leaders to discuss issues of regional concern".

Trump said his visit to Saudi Arabia will include a gathering of leaders from "across the Muslim world" to unite against extremism.

The trip later this month will include "a truly historic gathering in Saudi Arabia with leaders from all across the Muslim world", Trump said in announcing the itinerary Thursday before an audience of USA clergy in the White House Rose Garden.

A USA president's first foreign trip often carries as much symbolic significance as substantive meaning, and Trump is expected to use the trip to underline his priority of fighting Islamic extremism in the form of Isis and others.

A third senior White House official spoke of an emboldened Iran leading other Middle East countries to come to the table in a unique way.

In a briefing for reporters just after the ceremony, a senior aide to Trump said the thrust of the tour, which will precede a previously announced visit to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels, is to unite the world's nations and the three faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - against terrorism.

"He's against terrorists. During his campaign, he was continuously telling that he's not against the religion".

Trump ran on a ban of Muslims entering the United States, proposing the in a December 2015 announcement a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" until American officials could get a handle on terror.

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Trump's visit to Rome will mark the first time he and Pope Francis have spoken. "It's a very clear message to the world that the USA and the Arab Muslim countries can form a partnership", Mr Al Jubeir said. "They want to see a lot of the Muslim young people in that region to have economic opportunity".

Aides described the decision to make Saudi Arabia the coveted first presidential stop as an effort to reset relations with the Muslim world.

Trump's administration is keen to fix the relationship with the regional power following tensions caused by the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran, reported The Independent.

"I believe that, given his creative thinking and given his unconventional approach to this conflict, the probability that he can succeed is very high", Jubeir said.

Declaring May 4 as the National Day of Prayer, Trump said freedom is not a gift of government.

Trump will meet both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his stop there.

The two leaders have previously staked out opposing policy positions, most notably in a heated exchange through the media while Trump was campaigning in February 2016 to become the Republican Party's nominee for the White House. The ban has been temporarily blocked by USA courts. The visit to Israel will reinforce that alliance, officials said. He also said he saw a "very good chance" for peace between Israel and Palestine.

Last month Cardinal Peter Turkson, Francis' point man for the environment, immigration, and development, urged Trump to listen to "dissenting voices" and reconsider his position on climate change. He added that he had noticed increased support "from day one" from the Trump administration for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

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