Economy

Trump, Tillerson, Ross dance with swords in Saudi Arabia

Trump, Tillerson, Ross dance with swords in Saudi Arabia

U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, smiles at Saudi King Salman, left, upon his arrival at a welcome ceremony at the Royal Terminal of King Khalid International Airport, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. Trump´s trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy, the Vatican and Belgium has been billed by the White House as a chance to visit places sacred to three of the world´s major religions, while giving Trump time to meet with Arab, Israeli and European leaders. After two days of meetings in Saudi Arabia, Trump will travel to Israel, have an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican, and meet allies at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels and the Group of Seven powerful nations in Sicily.

Billboards featuring images of Trump and the king emblazoned with the motto "Together we prevail" dotted Riyadh's highways, while Trump's hotel was bathed in red, white and blue lights and, at times, an image of the president's face.

A $110 billion deal in which Saudi Arabia will buy USA arms to help it counter Iran, with options for as much as $350 billion over 10 years, was the central achievement of Trump's first day in Riyadh, first stop on a nine-day journey through the Middle East and Europe.

In both videos Trump and his senior aides appear to be dancing in line with Saudi dignitaries with swords in hand as part of an official, if awkward-looking, welcome reception held for the president at the Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh.

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The president's trip to forge new bonds with the royal family began when Air Force One touched down to find the Saudis trying to iron out finishing touches. Well it doesn't seem that they're quite as bothered by President Donald Trump also bending his head toward the Saudi king.

The president was trailed on the trip by a large number of advisers, including Tillerson, chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Under the kingdom's strict dress code for women, Saudi women and most female visitors are required to wear a loose, black robe, known as an abaya, in public.

But head coverings aren't required for foreigners and most Western women go without.

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First lady Melania Trump's decision not to wear a traditional head scarf turned heads on social media - especially since Mr. Trump criticized Michelle Obama for doing the same thing in 2015.

On visits earlier this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also shunned head coverings.

"President Trump understands that America First does not mean America alone", said H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser. The deal includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology.

The draft also notably did not contain the words "radical Islamic terror", a phrase Trump repeatedly criticized his 2016 president rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, for not using during last year's campaign.

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