May 20 (UPI) — President Donald Trump touched down in Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning to start his first trip abroad as president, focusing on strengthening ties to combat terrorism.
Trump, who left behind controversies that have inundated his administration, was welcome to the country by Saudi King Salman. Trump and wife Melania descended from Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh to an enthusiastic greeting by high-level Saudi officials, a military brass band and a fighter jet flyover.
“Great to be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Looking forward to the afternoon and evening ahead,” Trump tweeted shortly after his arrival.
Trump and Salman were due to spend much of Saturday in meetings as the two allies seek to rekindle the relationship that had turned cold during the Obama administration. They were expected to oversee the signing of agreements between American and Saudi companies, including one between Saudi oil giant Aramco and several U.S. companies.
Salman said on Twitter, “We welcome @POTUS Trump to KSA. Mr. President, your visit will strengthen our strategic cooperation, lead to global security and stability.”
During his two-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump is expected to announce a $100 billion arms deal with the country. On Sunday, he is expected to deliver a speech directed to the Muslim world to unite against extremism. After he leaves Saudi Arabia, Trump will travel to Israel, the Vatican and the 28th NATO summit in Belgium.