Trump seeks to move past controversies as he lands in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia, which has deep, long-standing energy and defense ties to the United States, was not named in the travel bans.

A five story image of Trump's face was projected on the exterior of the hotel he'll stay in when he arrives, and large billboards of Trump and King Salman lined the highway from the airport. The U.S. -Saudi partnership has been fraught with controversy since the September 11 attacks, which culminated previous year in a Congressional vote to allow 9/11 families to sue the country for its suspected links to the attackers.

Saudi Arabia is the primary destination for USA arms sales, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, with the Kingdom purchasing almost 10 percent of US exports from 2011 to 2015.

The weapons deal also gives Trump - who sold himself to voters as an inveterate deal maker -a victory to merchandise overseas, just as his political pressures intensify at home.

The trip however, comes amid a turbulent environment back in the USA, in the wake of Trump firing Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

White House aides had hoped Trump's ambitious foreign swing would provide relief from a barrage of bad headlines.

Ahead of Trump's trip, the White House said the president expected tangible results from Saudi Arabia in countering Islamic extremism.

He will also travel to Israel, have an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican and attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels and the G7 meeting in Sicily. The trip is a key test of the president's diplomatic skills and a chance to add substance to a foreign policy he has described broadly as "America First".

Women in Saudi Arabia, including foreign visitors, are expected to wear floor-length black dresses - not trousers - that cover their entire bodies, including their legs and arms. In a tweet, Mr Trump said she had "insulted" her hosts.

Later on Saturday, Mr Trump received the nation's highest civilian honour from Saudi King Salman.

And, just seven days after taking office on January 20, Trump signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. So all eyes will be on a speech on Islam that the president is scheduled to deliver to dozens of Muslim leaders at a summit in Riyadh on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia and Iran support rival proxy forces in conflicts throughout the region, including in the two significant civil wars in Yemen and in Syria, where the embattled forces of President Bashar al-Assad are backed by Tehran and Moscow. In 2015, her husband had, in a tweet, criticized former first lady Michelle Obama for not wearing a headscarf during a visit to the kingdom.

"I will only spend one day in Saudi Arabia and I will come back to Indonesia in the evening", said Jokowi as quoted by a statement released by the Presidential Office on Saturday.

"He will encourage our Arab and Muslim partners to take bold, new steps to promote peace and to confront those, from ISIS to Al-Qaeda... who perpetuate chaos and violence that has inflicted so much suffering throughout the Muslim world and beyond", said Trump's National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

After a royal banquet, Trump and the king were to have private talks and participate in a signing ceremony for a number of US-Saudi agreements, including a $100bn deal for Saudi Arabia to buy American arms. The kingdom backs efforts to topple the Syrian government, which counts Iran and Russian Federation as its closest allies.White House officials have said they consider Trump's visit, and his keynote address, a counterweight to President Obama's debut speech to the Muslim world in 2009 in Cairo.Obama called for understanding and acknowledged some of America's missteps in the region.

The draft also abandons some of the harsh anti-Muslim rhetoric that defined Trump's presidential campaign and does not contain the words "radical Islamic terror", a phrase Trump repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton for not using during last year's campaign.

Vanessa Coleman

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