Saudi: Summit with US to open ‘new page’ with Muslim world

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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir praised on Thursday Riyadh’s “historic” ties with Washington and “expected” commercial and political deals to be signed during Donald Trump’s imminent visit to the kingdom, the leader’s first foreign trip as US president.

Trump’s visit will “reinforce historic partnership” between Saudi Arabia and the United States, Jubeir said during a press conference he held Thursday.

The Arab-Islamic-American Summit, which will be attended by 37 leaders, will focus on combating terrorism, bolstering trade, investment, youth and technology, Jubeir said.

Jubeir also said this summit with US is going to “open a new page” in terms of dialogue with the Muslim world.

He also said that Saudi Arabia wants to send a message to the West that the Muslim world is “not an enemy,” adding the Riyadh comes second after the United States in the fight against ISIS.

The foreign minister said both US and Saudi agree on eliminating terror groups such as ISIS.

He also said: “We will also look at terror financing initiative, increasing cooperation between Islamic Military Alliance and the [US-led] coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.”

Saudi Arabia, a longtime US ally, caries a major influence in the Muslim world, especially after it formed the 34-member Islamic Military Alliance (IMA) against terrorism and extremism.

The minister said there were already several thousand people, who have been arrested in Saudi Arabia for “either recruiting or participating in attacks for ISIS.”

At end of the summit, leaders are going to launch global counter-extremism center in Riyadh, which will fight an “ideological battle”, he added.

Jubeir, meanwhile, lent his full weight to Trump’s policies, saying “differences in opinion” with the United States only arose during Obama’s administration.

Ex-President Barack Obama used diplomacy - symbolized in the famous nuclear deal signed with Iran - to stave off any potential for the Islamic republic to create a nuclear bomb, an allegation Tehran had always rejected. However, the nuclear deal made some neighboring countries such as the Gulf states uncomfortable as it lifted economic sanctions against Iran, giving it more power.

“We will work with our allies, particularly US, to see that Iran is made to act like a normal country,” Jubeir said. “As long as Iran threatens with terrorism, it is impossible to have normal relations with them.”

While reiterating Riyadh’s rejection for Iran’s interference in the region, Jubeir dubbed the presidential Iranian election as an “internal matter.”

“We will judge Iran by its actions not by its words,” he added.

While Trump said that he will not move US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem during his visit, Jubeir said the US leader’s “unconventional abut pragmatic approach” can pave the way to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We believe resolving Israeli-Palestinian conflict would change regional landscape, requires courage, fresh approach and thinking outside the box,” he added.

Trump spoke repeatedly during the 2016 presidential campaign about moving the embassy to Jerusalem, but the debate on the controversial issue has apparently been postponed since he took power. Eastern Jerusalem is considered to be Palestinian territory under international law.

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