Under encircle in Washington, Trump reaps Saudi arms deal, stronger ties


RIYADH Under domestic glow during home, U.S. President Donald Trump hermetic a $110 billion arms understanding with Saudi Arabia on Saturday on his lass unfamiliar outing as he struggled to change courtesy from a emanate of his banishment of a executive of a FBI.

The arms deal, and other investments that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pronounced could sum adult to $350 billion, was a executive feat of Trump’s initial day in Riyadh, initial stop on a nine-day tour by a Middle East and Europe.

Speaking to reporters after a rite to sell agreements, Trump pronounced it was a “tremendous day” and spoke of “hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into a United States and jobs, jobs, jobs. So we would like to appreciate all of a people of Saudi Arabia.”

King Salman gave Trump a remarkably comfortable greeting, assembly him during a stairs of Air Force One on arrival, jolt a palm of Trump’s wife, Melania, roving with Trump in his limousine and spending many of a day with him.

But a domestic misunderstanding behind in Washington consumed a headlines in a United States and expel a prolonged shade over a start of Trump’s trip, that will embody stops in Israel, a Vatican, Italy and Belgium.

His banishment of Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct James Comey on May 9 and a appointment of a special warn to examine Trump’s 2016 presidential choosing debate ties to Russia have lifted a doubt of either he attempted to crush a examine into allegations of a Russian connection.

Fanning a abandon was a New York Times news that Trump had called Comey a “nut job” in a private assembly final week in a Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and envoy Sergei Kislyak. The Times quoted lecture records of a conversation.

Amid a mood of frustration, officials on house Trump’s Riyadh-bound presidential craft scrambled to coordinate on responding to a story with staff in Washington and those who had only landed in a Saudi capital.

Asked for a response, a White House pronounced that for inhabitant confidence reasons, “we do not endorse or repudiate a flawlessness of allegedly leaked personal documents.”

Russia’s Interfax news organisation on Saturday quoted Lavrov as observant he had not discussed Comey with Trump. “We did not hold this emanate during all,” a apportion said.

In another development, a Washington Post pronounced a White House central tighten to Trump was a poignant “person of interest” in a review into probable ties with Russia.

Tillerson, asked about a story, pronounced he did not know who a “person of interest” was.

Against that backdrop, Trump soldiered by a prolonged day of diplomacy.

Saudi unfamiliar apportion Adel al-Jubeir called a formula of Trump’s meetings with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz “the commencement of a branch point” between a United States, Saudi Arabia and a Gulf allies.

Both he and Tillerson done transparent a arms understanding was directed during tackling Iran on a day that Hassan Rouhani was re-elected as Iran’s president.

Tillerson pronounced Rouhani should use his second tenure to finish Iran’s ballistic barb contrast and stop compelling extremism in a flighty region.

He pronounced he had no skeleton to speak to his Iranian reflection though that he in all odds he would do so “at a right time.”

Al-Jubeir pronounced Trump and King Salman concluded that movement had to be taken to safeguard Iran did not continue “aggressive policies in a region.”

Trump’s outing has been billed by a White House as a possibility to revisit places dedicated to 3 of a world’s vital religions, while giving him time to accommodate with Arab, Israeli and European leaders.


King Salman gave a some-more auspicious acquire to Trump than he had postulated final year to Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, who was seen in a Arab dominion as soothing on Iran and wavering on Syria.

Trump and King Salman seemed during palliate with any other, chatting by an interpreter. At a stately al-Yamama palace, a aristocrat draped around Trump’s neck a King Abdulaziz medal, a country’s tip municipal honor.

At a finish of a day, Tillerson and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, holding swords, were seen participating in a rite dance during Marraba Palace with a Saudi group.

As Trump arrived for cooking with a king, a philharmonic awaited him: Men dressed in prolonged white turbans and carrying swords convinced and chanted in unanimity to violence drums in a courtyard. Trump, clearly enjoying himself, smiled and swayed, even ostensible to dance a small during a core of a group.


During their review progressing in a day, a aristocrat was overheard wailing a Syrian war. Trump systematic atmosphere strikes opposite a Syrian airfield in Apr in response to a chemical weapons conflict by supervision army opposite civilians.

“Syria too used to be one of a many modernized countries. We used to get a professors from Syria. They served a kingdom. Unfortunately, they too brought drop to their possess country. You can destroy a nation in small seconds, though it takes a lot of effort,” he said.

Trump’s response could not be heard.

The arms package includes a oath by a dominion to arrange 150 Lockheed Martin Blackhawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia, in a $6 billion understanding approaching to outcome in about 450 jobs in a kingdom.

National oil hulk Saudi Aramco was also approaching to pointer $50 billion of deals with U.S. companies on Saturday, partial of a expostulate to variegate a kingdom’s economy over oil exports, Aramco’s arch executive Amin Nasser said.

U.S. record and engineering firm GE pronounced it had sealed $15 billion of agreements with Saudi organizations.

Trump is to broach a debate in Riyadh on Sunday directed during rallying Muslims in a quarrel opposite Islamist militants. He will also attend a limit of Gulf leaders of a six-member Gulf Cooperation Council.

Shortly after holding office, Trump sought to retard people from several Muslim-majority nations from entering a United States, though a transport anathema has been blocked by sovereign courts.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; modifying by Sami Aboudi, Andrew Roche and Grant McCool)


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