Trump to deliver first major speech outside of the US

The US president will address the leaders of 50 Muslim-majority nations at the Arab Islamic American Summit today

Trump to deliver first major speech outside of the US

President Donald Trump walks with Saudi King Salman to a presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace in Riyadh, 20-05-2017. Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

US President Donald Trump will today address the leaders of 50 Muslim-majority nations as he continues his first foreign trip since he took office.

The nine-day foreign tour will see the US president holding a series of meetings with Arab leaders - before travelling on to Israel, Palestine, the Vatican, Belgium and Italy.

He is set to highlight the fight against terrorism in his address to the Arab Islamic American Summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh this afternoon.

He is expected to call for unity in the battle against “radicalism” and characterise the fight as a “battle between good and evil.”

The speech - which will take place at 2:20pm Irish time - was being worked by advisers just hours before the summit, with content being re-drafted overnight.

Change of tone

It is expected to signify a distinct change of tone for the president who called for Muslims to be barred from entering the US during his election campaign, and tried and failed to ban travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries soon after taking office.

He is expected to say: "We are not here to lecture - to tell other peoples how to live, what to do or who to be. We are here instead to offer partnership in building a better future for us all."

In 2009, when former president Barack Obama addressed the Muslim world at Cairo University in Egypt, Mr Trump was highly critical of his speech, considering it too apologetic for US actions in the region.

Bilateral meetings

Prior to the summit, the President's day is packed with back-to-back meetings, discussions and receptions.

His Sunday schedule includes bilateral meetings with the King of Bahrain, President el Sisi of Egypt and the deputy prime minister of Oman.

First Lady Melania Trump will visit a school and engineering giant General Electric during the day.

Weapons deal

Yesterday, the US agreed the “largest single arms deal in American history” with Saudi Arabia – believed to be worth almost €110bn.

The deal is believed to include munitions that will bolster the ongoing Saudi-backed air campaign in war-torn Yemen.

Fighting between government forces - backed by a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf States - and Houthi rebels in Yemen has left the country on the brink of famine with thousands dead.

The kingdom has been sharply criticised by human rights organisations and international aid agencies for the devastation caused by the airstrikes it is continuing to carry out in the region - contributing to the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Amnesty International has warned that the “glaring absence of human rights” from President Trump’s agenda on his Middle Eastern tour will only encourage further violations of international humanitarian law.