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Saudi king touts Trump's Islamic summit as "new partnership"

He also recommended US President Donald Trump, who is going to attend the Riyadh summit, not to make the same mistakes he used to criticize his predecessors for.

After an election campaign in which he was accused of stoking Islamophobia, and where he pledged to ban Muslims entering America, his aides say he wants to reset his image.

Trump confirmed his attendance earlier this month, meaning that his first trips overseas as president will include Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican.

However, with weeks to go until the 2017 United Kingdom election, Sir Michael re-stressed the Conservative government's position that Saudi Arabia is an "enormously important trading partner", and refused to clarify whether his party will halt arms sales to the Saudis.

Critics have accused Trump of being anti-Muslim after he issued a ban, now blocked by USA courts, on entry into the United States by citizens of several Muslim-majority countries, citing national security concerns.

Shortly thereafter, secretary of state Rex Tillerson said: "Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism and is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining USA interests..."

That the announcement of Trump's trip coincided with the signing of an executive order on "Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty" could not have been more ironic.

Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia in April 2016 was overshadowed by Gulf Arab exasperation with his approach to the region, and doubts about Washington's commitment to regional security. He downsized them to six later in March, including Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran, excluding Iraq from the previous list.

Washington and Riyadh have a decades-old relationship based on the exchange of American security for Saudi oil.

In March, senior USA military leaders were already weighing options on how to accelerate overt support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, Foreign Policy reported at the time.

In a tweet from 2011, Trump had said, "Get it Straight: Pakistan is not our friend".

As concerns quickly grow over Trump's ability to keep classified materials secret just a day after news emerged he'd shared sensitive state secrets about ISIS with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office, the White House on Tuesday attempted to paint the commander-in-chief's upcoming trip as an opportunity to pivot. That evening, the president and the first lady will join members of the Saudi royal family for an official dinner.

Later, McMaster said, Trump - who has relied heavily on social media to deliver an litany of contradicting and, often times, insulting, messages - will participate in a "Twitter forum with young people".

"Instead of fighting the triad of evil and its Daesh terrorist branch", he said, referring to Israel, the USA and the United Kingdom, "they [Muslim states] are fighting each other and focusing their aggression on their own people".

The senior clergy have denounced militant Islamic doctrines, such as those of al Qaeda or Islamic State, but still preach intolerant views.

Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? In a recent interview, its deputy crown prince and defence minister, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, rejected any possibility of a dialogue with Iran, even giving a powerful sectarian spin to his stand: he said dialogue was impossible because of what he described as the Iranian religious conviction that Shias were destined to dominate the Islamic world, with the advent of the Mahdi, the "Hidden Imam" in Shia tradition.



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