President Donald Trump has made headlines all over the world since he came to office just over 100 days ago. Now the headlines are about his first overseas trip as President of the United States, with his up coming visit to Saudi Arabia.
In making the announcement that his inaugural overseas to visit would be to the Kingdom, President Trump said, “We will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies to combat extremism, terrorism and violence, and to embrace a more just and hopeful future for young Muslims in their countries.”
Those remarks from President Trump have provided a renewed sense of optimism on the streets of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia and the United States are decades-old strategic allies, with support dating back to World War II, in areas of regional security, energy and counterterrorism. The summit of 60 Muslim nations that President Trump is attending — convened under the auspices of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — will set a new chapter in that relationship.
Mohammed Hafiz is a resident of Riyadh, and currently doing his residency as a plastic surgeon in the Kingdom. Speaking to Arabia Now he said, “I was excited to hear he’s coming here. As Saudis we have grown up on using American products and watching American TV. We really aren’t all that different. We have worked together for so long. I am optimistic Trump wants good relations with us in politics and business. And I certainly hope we have better future plans.”
It’s a sentiment shared too by Foreign Minister Adel al Jubier who said of the upcoming visit, “It’s a clear and powerful message that the U.S. harbors no ill will toward the Arab and Muslim world.”
The first overseas visits made by a President of the United States usually has a symbolic impact on their Presidency. It’s the first time Saudi Arabia has been chosen, indicating is positioned to play a key role in the foreign policy agenda of the Trump administration.
Maha Nazer, was born in Jeddah and lives in Riyadh. A self-development coach, she spoke to Arabia Now with great excitement about the upcoming trip, “I think this is very positive step as it’s sending a very important message to Muslims and to our neighbors in the region. What happens here in Saudi Arabia effects everyone in this area. So I would like to think President Trump is a good person working hard for world peace. It’s a very smart pick for his first trip as President.”
The upcoming visit by President Trump is also being discussed widely in the Eastern Province. Fahad Alammari is the Founder & General Manager of Leading Innovations, a high tech company. Speaking to Arabia Now from his office in Dammam he said, “I believe this visit will combine the power of the West and the Middle East, led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism and create peace in this region of the world for Muslims and non Muslims too. We hope that this summit will bring all leaders together to bring peace to us and to our kids. We maybe do not see the results now but I am sure our kids will see it because of the hard work of Saudi Arabia and the U.S.”
From Washington DC to Saudi Arabia, everyone will be watching closely and with great anticipation. Peace and understanding is something both countries believe in and President Trump’s upcoming visit to the Kingdom is a step in that direction.