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Trump Announces Trip to Saudi Arabia, Zionist Entity, Vatican

The stops were added to the front of a previously scheduled trip to Brussels and Sicily for back-to-back summit meetings held by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Group of 7 economic powers.

"America can be first but still be a global leader", White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a later briefing with reporters.

The White House had said previously that Trump would travel to Belgium and Italy for the G7 summit before Memorial Day.

Trump will be making his first overseas trip late into the start of his presidency compared to his predecessors.

A USA president's first foreign trip often carries as much symbolic significance as substantive meaning, and Trump is expected to use the trip to underline his priority of fighting Islamic extremism in the form of Isis and others.

Calling it "a very good question", a senior administration official said "it remains to be seen" if the Saudi shift is genuine.

There is also a clear interest among top aides in the White House to counter the view Trump has cultivated overseas.

Saudi Arabia's powerful deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, met with Trump at the White House in March. The move signifies the new administration's intent to reinforce a relationship with a top ally in the Middle East, where the United States is leading a coalition against Islamic State and seeking to counter Iranian influence.

On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence told celebrators at a commemoration for Israeli Independence Day at the White House that "as we speak", Trump "is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem".

After Saudi Arabia, Trump will visit Israel, then Rome, where he will meet Pope Francis.

Pope Francis, on his return flight from Egypt April 29, told reporters that he had not yet been informed by the Vatican secretary of state's office about a request for an audience from USA officials.

A second senior administration official said that a recent visit to Saudi Arabia revealed an open-mindedness to stepping up and leading in a way the official had not seen in the country since right after 9/11.

"Saudi Arabia directly supported terrorism in 2001". The administration is in the process of notifying Congress, the Saudi foreign minister said.

He expects the trip to produce "tangible results" in the fight against Islamic State, they added.

Since Ronald Reagan visited Mexico during his transition and Canada as his first foreign stop in office, each successive president has chosen one of those two countries as the kickoff for worldwide travel. He is also the first president since Carter to not make his first trip to Mexico or Canada.

But behind the scenes, some of the president's top aides - including son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner - were planning a more robust itinerary meant to send a message about the kind of leadership Trump would show on the world stage.

Trump will also look to rally the region against Iran and negotiate a peace deal on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Trump, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in February, has assigned his son-in-law Jared Kushner to oversee efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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