Trump to visit Middle East in first foreign trip

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According to Anadolu Agency, a White House statement said the visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel would help strengthen USA partnership with both allies and counter the threats posed by Iran.

Following those stops, Trump will jet onto a highly-anticipated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels on May 25, where he is expected to hound allies on boosting their defense spending, and a G-7 summit in Sicily on May 26 to talk shop on economics, foreign policy, and trade.

"If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS's ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened", Trump said in a statement a year ago.

Leaders normally give the Holy See several months' notice when requesting a papal audience, but both Vatican and White House officials said they were trying to arrange a meeting.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel this month, kicking off his first foreign trip, where he will work to reinvigorate traditional alliances in the region.

For a showman president who has come to relish the made-for-TV aspects of his job, perhaps it is no surprise that Donald Trump's first foreign outing will not be to Canada.

Officials declined to say where Trump would meet with Abbas, and also said exact dates and other details of the trip would be provided later.

In Riyadh Trump will meet Gulf and Middle East leaders where the issue of Iran, militancy and other issues will feature on the agenda.

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"We thought [going to Saudi Arabia first] was very important because obviously people have tried to portray the president in a certain way", the official said.

Trump has sought to forge strong ties with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of his presidency in hopes of facilitating peace.

This is the latest into a term that a president has waited to travel outside the country since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

Although no reporter in the course of the briefing raised the issue of the isolationism Trump articulated during his campaign - encapsulated in his slogan "America First" - a senior aide defended the president against the charge. Such a move would characterize a major change in American foreign policy, one that could strain relations between the United States and the Palestinian Authority.

After his trip to Israel, Trump will hop on over to Rome and Vatican City to meet Pope Francis, rounding out what in the end will resemble a tour of the Abrahamic religions.

An infuriated Trump at the time described the pope's comments as "disgraceful" and said he was "proud to be a Christian".

Francis wants to end the use of fossil fuels, while Trump has pledged to cancel payments to United Nations climate change programs and pull out of the Paris climate accord.

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