Trump to discuss extremism with Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia

Trump to discuss extremism with Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia


WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will discuss the fight against ISIS and extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan as he addresses the Muslim world during his visit to Saudi Arabia this week.

Leaders of more than 50 mostly-Muslim countries are scheduled to attend the meeting convened by Saudi Arabia over the weekend where Trump would address the gathering on Sunday.

"He (Trump) will meet and have lunch with leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries where he will deliver an inspiring, yet direct, speech on the need to confront radical ideology," US national security advisor H R McMaster told reporters at the White House.

"The speech is intended to unite the broader Muslim world against the common enemies of all civilisation and to demonstrate America's commitment to our Muslim partners," he said while giving details of Trump's itinerary for his visit.

The discussion on extremism would come up as part of the larger debate within the Islamic world, a senior Trump administration official said on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday.

"So the general problem of extremism, which is the same problem in Mosul as it is in Afghanistan and to some degree in Pakistan, that's the issue that we're trying to deal with, which is extremism. So it will be something that will be discussed," the official said.

Riyadh has not yet confirmed a separate bilateral talk between Trump and either of the two leaders Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef.

The Trump administration is in final stage of formulating its Afghanistan-Pakistan policy which among other things would decide on the number of troops to be deployed in Afghanistan.

The final decision in this regard would be taken by the generals on the ground.

From Saudi Arabia, Trump would travel to Jerusalem, where he will meet Israeli President Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and lay a wreath at Yad Vashem.

The next day, he plans to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem and convey America's interest to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict in the region.

"He will urge Palestinian leaders to take steps that will help lead to peace. He will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and say a prayer at the Western Wall," McMaster said.

The next destination would Rome and the Vatican, where Trump will meet the Pope.

"He looks forward to celebrating the rich contributions of Catholics to America and to the world, and to discussing a range of issues of mutual concern," he said.

From Rome, Trump would fly to to Brussels to meet leaders of the European Union and of the European Council.

From Brussels, Trump would travel to Sicily for the G-7.