In his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, U.S. President Donald Trump will unveil his plan to encourage Gulf States to form a NATO-like force for the Middle East. The alliance will include the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post reported.
While in Riyadh, Trump would attend three major events: A series of meeting with Saudi officials, a separate session with leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and a lunch with Arab and Muslim leaders, 56 of whom have been invited, to discuss combating extremism and cracking down on illicit financing.
The United States is close to completing a series of arms deals with Saudi Arabia totaling more than $100 billion, a senior White House official told Reuters earlier this month. Saudi Arabia will also want to showcase high-profile investment deals with American companies to show progress on its ambitious "Vision 2030" economic and social reform agenda, while Washington says U.S. arms sales arms worth tens of billions of dollars are in the pipeline. The United States has been the main supplier for most Saudi military needs, from F-15 fighter jets to command and control systems worth tens of billions of dollars in recent years.
Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia highlights warmer relations as the two countries share same view that Iran posed a regional security threat. Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia is the first stop on his maiden international trip since taking office in January. U.S. and Saudi officials are eager to highlight the powerful symbolism of an American president choosing to visit the birthplace of Islam as his first stop rather than to neighbors Canada or Mexico. Besides meeting with Saudi officials, Trump will also meet with leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and have lunch with leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries.
Trump's visit "sends a clear message that the U.S. is standing with its close allies in the region and that they're not abandoning them," a senior Saudi official told Reuters, reflecting the view many Gulf leaders had of Obama, who they considered had made securing a nuclear deal with Iran a higher priority than the U.S.-Gulf alliance.