Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Toby Keith to perform in Saudi Arabia this weekend during Trump's visit


Iran's election on Friday is its own concern, Saudi Arabia said ahead of an "unprecedented" summit between US President Donald Trump and dozens of Muslim nations excluding Iran.

Trump's first visit to Saudi Arabic is a "historical event", Al Jubeir told a press conference, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

The concert will occur as Trump is in Riyadh on his first foreign trip as president.

After his weekend trip to Saudi Arabia, the United States president will continue on to Jerusalem, meet with the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian leaders, as well as "say a prayer at the Western Wall", McMaster said. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will also accompany Trump for most of the trip. It is at this event where Trump is scheduled to make his address.

Saudi Arabia, home to some of Islam's holiest sites, will be pulling out all the stops for a man who has declared "Islam hates us" and said the United States is "losing a tremendous amount of money" defending the kingdom.

Trump will meet Saudi Arabia's King Salman for the first time, in Saudi Arabia, for bilateral talks.

The Stars and Stripes is flying in Riyadh's streets, intermixed with Saudi flags.

Trump will visit the homelands of three major religions - which no president has done in the same trip before, a senior administration official said Wednesday - and attend multiple high-profile summits.

The Obama administration had cut back cooperation with the Saudi-led military coalition after human rights groups said Saudi warplanes had bombed medical facilities and had used cluster munitions, which are banned by most countries, against civilian targets in Yemen.

The agreement, between the United States under former president Barack Obama, five other world powers, and Tehran, was viewed with suspicion by Riyadh.

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Keith was among the musicians who played at a January 19 inaugural event for Trump a day before the president took the oath of office.

Senior adviser to the president Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been negotiating the idea since before Trump took office.

Music concerts had been banned in the country for the past two decades.

The exuberant reception for Trump reflects the sharp contrast with how Persian Gulf leaders perceived Obama and his policies.

"We have seen Iran's record of aggression increase not decrease" since the nuclear pact, Al-Jubeir said, citing the country's support for "terrorism" and efforts to destabilize other countries.

English edition of Asharq Al-Awsat - the world's premier pan-Arab daily.

In Trump, many Saudis see a decisive, business-focused leader, who they say shares their goals in the region. His enemies, as he sees them, have taken their best shots and missed.

"Saudi Arabia agrees with the USA administration's view in relation to the role of the United States in the world and in relation to uprooting terrorism", he added, referring to the hardline Daesh (the so-called IS) group and Al-Qaeda. Along with meetings on the USA president's itinerary, there will also reportedly be time for entertainment in the lavish Arab kingdom. To maintain that alliance, Saudi leaders have studiously ignored Trump's negative statements about Islam while emphasizing what their kingdom provides, including intelligence cooperation and billions of dollars in arms purchases.

"They are going to need much guidance on, for example, the financialisation of the banking system, on syndicated loans, deepening their captial markets and in the hydrocarbon sector, which they are opening up more", the economist said.

Saudi Arabia's Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) arranged the trip, Schock said.

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