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Abbas attends Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Saudi Arabia

May 21, 2017 6:53 P.M. (Updated: May 21, 2017 9:57 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the Arabic-Islamic-American Summit in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Sunday, along with 50 leaders of Arab and Muslim-majority countries, as well as US President Donald Trump.

Abbas arrived to the country on Saturday, and was welcomed at the Riyadh Air Base Airport by Saudi Prince Muhammad Bin Abd al-Rahman Bin Abd al-Aziz, Riyadh Mayor Ibrahim Sultan, senior Saudi official Abd al-Rahman Bin Abd al-Aziz al-Sihibani, and commander of Riyadh Air Base Muhammad Bin Ali al-Awaji.

Abbas was also escorted by Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amro, government spokesperson Nabeel Abu Rdina, Abbas’s consultant of diplomatic affairs Majdi al-Khaldi, and Palestinian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Bassim al-Agha.

At the summit, Trump delivered his first speech on foreign soil since taking office, saying that he was prepared to stand with Arab and Muslim leaders in the fight against “the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires," but that "Muslim-majority countries must takes the lead in combating radicalization."

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

"We need to stand together against the murder of women, the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians," Trump continued, and briefly referred to his upcoming meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas. “If these three faiths can join, peace in this world is possible, including peace between Israel and the Palestinians," he reportedly said.

Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, where the US signed a $110 billion weapons deal with the Saudi regime, and is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and later with Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Reports emerged on Sunday that Netanyahu has angrily required all Israeli cabinet ministers to attend the reception ceremony for Trump at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on Monday, after the Israeli prime minister discovered that most ministers were not planning on attending the event.

Trump will meet with Abbas on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, and then stop in occupied East Jerusalem, to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall -- reportedly to become the first sitting US president to visit the contested holy site that stands adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

A general strike is set to take place on Monday to coincide with Trump’s arrival to Israel, with Palestinian leadership also calling for a “Day of Rage” on Tuesday during Trump's visit in Bethlehem, to express rejection to the resumption of peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under US sponsorship.
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