Riyadh: US President Donald Trump has landed in Saudi Arabia for a historic meeting on Saturday tipped to “turn the page” on US-Arab affairs after a strained relationship under the previous American administration.
The president and his wife Melania touched down in Riyadh aboard Air Force One and were welcomed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and high ranking Saudi officials.
The president was greeted by an airport welcome ceremony before having a brief coffee meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in a reception room at King Khalid International Airport.
He later went to the al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh where he was awarded the King Abdulaziz Medal by King Salman.
The honor has also been bestowed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.
After a royal banquet, Trump and the king were to have private talks and participate in a signing ceremony for a number of US-Saudi agreements, including a deal worth a reported $100 billion for Saudi Arabia to buy American arms.
National oil giant Saudi Aramco is expected to sign $50 billion of deals with US companies on Saturday, part of a drive to diversify the Kingdom’s economy beyond oil exports, Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser said.
Trump is to deliver a speech on Sunday aimed at rallying Muslims in the fight against terrorism. His first official foreign trip since taking office will coincide with three key summits on Saturday and Sunday, as well as several business activities, cultural, intellectual and sports celebrations.
The Saudi-US Summit on Saturday will feature a series of bilateral meetings between King Salman and Trump, and “focus on re-affirming the long-standing friendship, and strengthening the close political, economic, security and cultural bonds between the two nations.”
It will be followed Sunday by the GCC-US Summit, Arab Islamic American Summit, and the inauguration of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.