By Associated Press - Sunday, May 21, 2017

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump’s first trip abroad (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump is imploring Middle Eastern countries to extinguish what he calls “Islamic extremism” emanating from the region.

Speaking Sunday to Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, Trump described the conflict as a “battle between good and evil” rather than a clash between the West and Islam.

Trump all but promised he would not publicly admonish Mideast rulers for human rights violations and oppressive reigns. That’s a pointed departure from the approach taken by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

Instead, Trump said he’s offering a partnership based on shared interests and values in pursuit of “a better future for us all.”

The president’s address is the centerpiece of his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, his first overseas trip since his January swearing-in.


10:13 p.m.

An Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved confidence building measures ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit including allowing Palestinian construction in part of the West Bank.

He says Sunday’s package includes Palestinian building permits for a West Bank area under Israeli control known as Area C. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly before the government’s official announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Palestinian Authority has limited say in about 38 percent of the West Bank where most Palestinians live.

The remainder of the land, home to over 350,000 Israeli settlers, has largely been off limits to Palestinian development.

Israeli media reported the package includes economic concessions and opening the border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan 24 hours a day.


Ian Deitch in Jerusalem.


9:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman are inaugurating a new state-of-the-art center in Riyadh to monitor and combat extremism.

Trump and a number of regional leaders visited the new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology Sunday, the heart of which is a giant wall, filled with screens displaying real-time online extremist activity.

More than two hundreds data analysts also worked on their individual computer screens.

Trump and the king each placed their hands on a miniature globe that officially activated the center and launched a splashy welcome video.

The White House did not immediately provide information as to any U.S. Involvement in the creation of the center.

The project began two years ago, before Trump took office.


9:00 p.m.

The new U.S. ambassador to Israel has attended a celebration of Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem 50 years ago, days after the White House declined to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area.

David Friedman joined a host of hardline Israeli leaders at Sunday’s celebration. Later, he joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a bigger celebration in Jerusalem’s Old City. Netanyahu says it was the first time an American ambassador has attended such an event.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The area is home to sensitive religious sites, including the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray.

Israel considers the entire city to be its capital. The international community says the fate of east Jerusalem, claimed by the Palestinians, must be resolved through negotiations.


8:55 p.m.

A Syrian rebel commander fighting Syrian and allied troops has praised President Donald Trump’s criticism of Iran, calling it a boost for opponents of the government of President Bashar Assad.

In Riyadh, Trump said Assad’s government has committed “unspeakable crimes” bolstered by Iran, blaming Tehran for supporting terrorists and fueling instability in the region.

Jamil al-Saleh, the commander of the western-backed Ezzah Army rebel group, called Trump’s position “excellent.” Al-Saleh said Trump appears to be charting a new path, expressing hope it means that he will not tolerate and will respond to Iran’s involvement in Syria, which he said, is an indirect boost to the opposition.

Iran is one of the main backers of Assad, advising and sending fighters to Syria against insurgents. Al-Saleh said Trump’s speech was a message to Russia, the other backer of Assad’s government. “He is telling Russia that all your partners in the Syrian theater are the very definition of terrorism.”


8:41 p.m.

Palestinian activists are calling for a “Day of Rage” when President Donald Trump visits the West Bank on Tuesday.

A group calling itself the Supreme National Leadership Committee is calling for public demonstrations across the West Bank. The committee includes various Palestinian political factions, including President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement.

The demonstrations are meant to draw attention to a month long hunger strike by hundreds of prisoners being held by Israel and to protest what many Palestinians say is unfair U.S. support for Israel.

In a statement, the group said Sunday the Palestinian factions “affirm their rejection of the American position, which is biased in favor of the occupation.”


8:20 p.m.

The Hamas militant group has lashed out at President Donald Trump for mentioning it with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in his speech in Saudi Arabia.

Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum says from Gaza City that Trump’s remarks Sunday are a “misrepresentation of facts.” He dubbed the speech a “confirmation” that Trump is following the policy of previous administrations.

Hamas says its battle is against Israel, not the West, and it has tried to rebrand itself by tweaking its charter. But the U.S., along with Israel and others, shun it as a terror group.

Hamas targeted civilians in suicide bombings during a Palestinian uprising a decade ago. It has fought three wars with Israel since seizing Gaza from forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

The U.S. recognizes Abbas as the representative of the Palestinians.


6:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump called on Middle Eastern leaders to combat a “crisis of Islamic extremism” emanating from the region, casting the fight against terrorism as a “battle between good and evil,” not a clash between the West and Islam.

Trump spoke Sunday during a meeting of more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia. The speech was the centerpiece of Trump’s two-day visit to the country as part of his first overseas trip.

Trump is putting the onus for combatting terrorism on the region and imploring Muslim leaders to aggressively fight extremists.

He’ll attend the opening of a Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology later Sunday.


6:25 p.m.

He spoke of “the crisis of Islamic extremists,” ”the Islamists” and “Islamic terror of all kinds.”

But President Donald Trump did not use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in a major speech Sunday in front of Muslim leaders.

As a candidate, Trump routinely railed against former President Barack Obama and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for failing to use the specific phrase, insisting that, “Anyone who cannot name our enemy, is not fit to lead this country.”

Trump struck a more moderate tone in his first foreign policy speech, calling on Middle Eastern leaders to combat a “crisis of Islamic extremism” emanating from the region. But he cast the fight against terrorism as a “battle between good and evil,” not a clash between the West and Islam.


6:11 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that Syrian President Bashar Assad has committed “unspeakable crimes” bolstered by Iran.

In an address to Muslim leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia Sunday, Trump called upon countries around the world to work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Trump denounced Iranian aggression in the region, and said that the “longest-suffering victims” are the Iranian people.

He says the Iranian people have “endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.”


5:57 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that every nation must shoulder the burden of rooting our terrorism from their countries.

In an address to the leaders of Muslim-majority countries in Riyadh Sunday, Trump said, “Every nation has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no quarter on their soil.”

Trump said terrorist groups “do nothing to inspire but kill.”

He said all countries must work together to “honestly” confront “the crisis of Islamic extremists and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.”

Trump fell short of referencing “radical Islamic terrorism” - a term he uses frequently at home and has condemned President Barack Obama for failing to say.


5:54 p.m.

President Donald Trump is painting the fight against extremists as “a battle between good and evil.”

Trump is saying in his first major foreign policy address as president that the fight against terrorism “is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between those who seek to obliterate human life and those who seek to protect it.”

He says that, “terrorist don’t worship God. They worship death.”

Trump is speaking in front of an audience of leaders from Arab and Muslim-majority nations.

He says the U.S. is prepared to stand with those leaders in the fight against extremists, but that those countries must take the lead.

He urged them to drive extremists “out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your community. Drive them out of your holy land.”


5:44 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that the overwhelming majority of victims of terrorist attacks are the “innocent people of the Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations.”

Speaking at the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh Sunday, Trump said that “95 percent of the victims of terrorist attacks are themselves Muslims.”

He said that terrorism must not only be measured by the number of dead, but the number of “vanished dreams.”

It’s a departure from his sometimes anti-Muslim rhetoric during his presidential campaign.


5:34 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. seeks a “coalition of nations” in the Middle East with the aim of “stamping out extremism.”

In his address to the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Trump is vowing to “strengthen America’s oldest friendships, and to seek new partners in pursuit of peace.”

Trump promised “that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit cooperation and trust.”


5:32 p.m.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia says he is committed to stamping out the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations.

Salman is speaking at a gathering of the leaders of more than 50 majority-Muslim countries attending the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh.

He says that “we all, peoples and countries, reject in every language and in every form damaging the relations of Muslim countries with friendly countries and profiling countries based on a religious or sectarian basis.”

He’s also railing against Iran, calling the country “the spearhead of global terrorism.”


5:01 p.m.

The leaders of Arab and Muslim-majority countries are gathering to hear President Donald Trump speak in Saudi Arabia.

The president is set to deliver a speech Sunday calling for unity across the Muslim world in the fight against terrorism.

Excerpts released by the White House show he’ll tell Muslim leaders that stamping out terror threats will require “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

The speech will be Trump’s first substantive remarks since he landed in the Middle East Saturday. He’s on a five-stop tour that will include stops in Israel and Italy.


3:07 p.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed all his Cabinet ministers to attend the official greeting for President Donald Trump, after some of them planned on skipping the event.

The move Sunday is the latest in a series of last-minute schedule changes to a presidential visit far different from the meticulously-planned operations of the past.

Trump’s arrival was initially planned to include speeches and greetings with a long list of dignitaries on the tarmac of Israel’s international airport. Later, the White House asked for a brief ceremony to avoid the heat. As a result, most ministers were planning to skip the event.

The Haaretz newspaper reports that Netanyahu fumed at his ministers and ordered them all to attend Monday’s ceremony.

Netanyahu is eager to make a good impression on Trump during the president’s first trip abroad.


2:32 p.m.

President Donald Trump will tell Muslim leaders that stamping out terror threats will require “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

That’s according to excerpts released by the White House ahead of Trump’s speech Sunday calling for unity across the Muslim world in the fight against terrorism.

Trump will tell an audience of leaders of Muslim-majority countries that he is “not here to lecture” and “not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.”

He’ll say that, “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” but “a battle between good and evil.”

Trump often used anti-Islamic rhetoric during his presidential campaign and repeatedly stressed the need to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” That phrase was missing from a draft of the speech obtained by The Associated Press last week.


1:43 p.m.

President Donald Trump is thanking Kuwait for its help in the fight against terror - and is pledging to update the public on their efforts soon.

Trump says during a meeting with the Emir of Kuwait on Sunday that he’ll hold a news conference in two weeks to discuss the battle against the Islamic State group.

He’s also praising the U.S.’s relationship with Kuwait and, in particular, the wealthy nation’s frequent purchases of American military equipment.

The Emir of Kuwait also invited the president to visit.

Trump has been holding a whirlwind of meetings with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia in the hours before he delivers a speech on how the Islamic world can help fight extremism.


1:16 p.m.

A senior Israeli Cabinet minister has voiced concern about the U.S.’s $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

Yuval Steinitz, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israeli officials will have to “hear the explanations” of the deal when President Donald Trump arrives in Israel on Monday.

Steinitz says it is crucial that Israel maintain its military edge over its Arab neighbors, despite warming ties with Sunni Arab countries like Saudi Arabia.

Steinitz says, “This is not a country that we have diplomatic relations with” and that it “is still a hostile country and nobody knows what the future holds.”

Steinitz says the deal is “definitely something that should trouble us.”


12:36 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump paid a visit to the American International School in Riyadh on Sunday while her husband held a series of bilateral meetings with Arab leaders.

The first lady delivered Dr. Seuss books to a pre-school classroom, spoke to sixth graders on a soccer field and clapped along to a rendition of “Lean on me” in the school’s library.

She was joined by the Saudi education minister.

It’s the first lady’s first visit to the country and her first experience representing the U.S. on a foreign stage.


12:20 p.m.

The White House says it’s aware that North Korea has launched a midrange ballistic missile in the North’s latest weapons test.

White House officials traveling in Saudi Arabia with President Donald Trump say the system, which was last tested in February, has a shorter range than the missiles launched in North Korea’s most recent tests.

South Korea’s military says the missile was fired Sunday from an area near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

The U.S. has sought to push back against North Korea’s work to speed up the development its nuclear weapons and missile program.


11:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is joining with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council in an effort to counter the financing of terrorism.

White House adviser Dina Powell tells reporters that a memorandum of understanding signed by the U.S. and GCC nations represents the “farthest reaching commitment” to not finance terrorist organizations.

She says it includes a pledge to prosecute the financing of terrorism, including individuals.

Along with the U.S., the participants include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The White House did not immediately release a text of the agreement.

Trump and the GCC leaders watched as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson exchanged documents.


10:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is making plans for another foreign trip as he eases into his first.

Trump said Sunday he would accept an invitation made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to visit Egypt. Trump said the visit would happen before long.

Trump is also calling el-Sissi his “friend” and praising him for the release of U.S. aid worker Aya Hijazi, who had been held captive for three years.

Through a translator, el-Sissi said Trump “had a unique personality” that allowed him “to do the impossible.”

Trump smiled and said “I agree.”

Trump was also overheard complimenting el-Sissi’s shoes.


9:58 a.m.

President Donald Trump says that he and the Emir of Qatar will discuss the purchase of “lots of beautiful military equipment.”

Trump and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani met Sunday morning in Riyadh in a bilateral meeting.

The president said the two nations had been “friends for a long time.” He added that “no one makes” military equipment like the United States and said a deal would create jobs for the U.S. and security for Qatar.

The potion of the meeting open to reporters did not include any discussion of human rights in Qatar. The nation has come under scrutiny for the harsh conditions faced by workers building the venues for the 2022 World Cup.


9:23 a.m.

President Donald Trump is beginning his day of meetings with Arab leaders with the King of Bahrain.

Trump says the two countries “have a wonderful relationship” but “there has been a little strain.”

He vowed Sunday to improve things further. Trump did not specify what tension he needed to resolve. The two countries have had a long-term military alliance though the U.S. Was critical of Bahrain’s response to uprisings during the Arab Spring.

The King of Bahrain also praised the two nations’ long-term alliance.

Trump is set to have a day of meetings before delivering a major speech to the Muslim world urging unity in the fight against terror.


9:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump is kicking off the second day of his first foreign trip abroad with a series of bilateral and group meetings with foreign leaders.

Trump will meet with leaders from Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait, and other countries before delivering a speech on fighting extremism.

The president will urge leaders in the region to “drive out the terrorists from your places of worship.” That’s according to a draft of the speech obtained by The Associated Press.

He’ll also attend the opening of the new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.


7:20 A.M.

President Donald Trump is using the nation that is home to Islam’s holiest site as a backdrop to call for unity across the Muslim world in the fight against terrorism.

In Trump’s Sunday speech, which is the centerpiece of his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, he will address 50 Muslim and Arab leaders and urge them to “drive out the terrorists from your places of worship.” That’s according to a draft of the speech obtained by The Associated Press.

Trump’s presidential campaign was frequently punctuated by bouts of anti-Islamic rhetoric. He is now poised to soften some of his language about the Muslim faith.

Though during the campaign Trump repeatedly stressed the need to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism,” that phrase is not included in the draft.

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