News Trump-GCC leaders' summit begins in Saudi Arabia

Trump-GCC leaders' summit begins in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, May 21 (IANS) US President Donald Trump and leaders of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates — began asummit meeting here on Sunday, officials said.

Saudi Arabia marks the beginning of Trump’s first foreign trip as President that includes visits to Israel, the Vatican City, Belgium and Italy where he is to take part in NATO and G7 summits.

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Trump arrived here on a two-day visit accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump and other White House senior officials on Saturday.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner were also travelling as part of the presidential entourage.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz inaugurated the meeting, Efe news reported.

Minutes before the summit started in the King Abdulaziz Convention Centre, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Nayef signed a memorandum of understanding to create a counter-terrorism centre, which is set to be based in Riyadh.

Following this meeting, US President Donald Trump is set to participate in a summit with about 50 leaders and representatives from Muslim-majority countries.

Upon his arrival on Saturday, Trump sealed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $350 billion over 10 years, with a nearly $110 billion deal to take effect immediately.

According to the White House, this deal will bolster security “in the face of Iranian threats” and the “package demonstrates the US’ commitment to partnership with Saudi Arabia, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region.”

On Saturday night, the American President also participated in a ceremonial sword dance outside the Murabba Palace ahead of a state dinner.

He will fly to Israel later on Sunday.

–IANS
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