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Friday, September 20, 2019

US President Trump and Saudi King Salman meet in Riyadh

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – United States President Donald Trump opened his first trip abroad since taking office, touching down on Saturday, May 20, in Saudi Arabia for a visit aimed at building stronger partnerships to combat terrorism in the region and moving past the controversies engulfing his young administration.

Trump flew to Riyadh overnight on Air Force One and was greeted by an elaborate welcoming ceremony at Riyadh's airport, punctuated by a military flyover and a handshake from Saudi King Salman.

Trump is the only American president to make Saudi Arabia, or any majority Muslim country, his first stop overseas as president — a scheduling choice designed in part to show respect to the region after months of harsh anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric.

The president's stop in Saudi Arabia kicks off an ambitious international debut. After two days of meetings in Riyadh, Trump will travel to Israel, have an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican, and meet with allies at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels and the Group of seven wealthy nations in Sicily.

As he arrived, the president waved from the doorway of Air Force One and then descended the steps, joined by First Lady Melania Trump. The 81-year-old King Salman, who used a cane for support, was brought to the steps of the plane on a golf cart. The two leaders exchanged pleasantries and Trump said it was "a great honor" to be there. (AP)

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