Obama embarks on a six-day tour; will visit Saudi Arabia, UK, Germany

Washington: US President Barack Obama has embarked on a three-nation six-day tour of Saudi Arabia, the UK and Germany to discuss the fight against ISIS, defence and global economy among others with some of America's key allies in the Gulf and Europe.

"The President will be meeting with some of our key allies and partners in the world in both the Gulf and in Europe," Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

It is a very important chance for him to coordinate US approaches on issues ranging from the counter-ISIL campaign to efforts to promote regional stability in the Middle East, to the support for Ukraine and its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to efforts to promote global economic growth, he told reporters ahead of Obama's departure on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia will be the first stop of Obama on 20 April.

"This will be a summit between the United States and the Gulf nations, following up on the summit that we had last year, the first of its kind at the head-of-state level at Camp David," he said.

A file photo of Obama. AP

A file photo of Obama. AP

Obama will begin on Wednesday afternoon by having a bilateral meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Then on 21 April, he will have the summit with the GCC leaders, and that summit will be broken into three different sessions - one on regional stability, one on defeating ISIL and al-Qaeda and counterterrorism cooperation, and then one on Iran and regional security and our efforts to prevent destabilising actions across the region, Rhodes said.

Obama is scheduled to fly to the UK from Saudi Arabia.

"On Friday, 22 April, the President will have a lunch with Queen Elizabeth. This visit coincides with her 90th birthday," Rhodes said.

Noting that the US President has very much enjoyed his engagements with the Queen over the years, Rhodes said as a general matter, Obama felt that in his final year in office it would be very important for him to visit his close ally, the UK, given the special relationship and all the work that they do together around the world.

US First Lady Michelle Obama would join the President during the Britain leg of the trip.

Following the lunch with the Queen, the President will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron.

"We work very closely with the United Kingdom on a host of issues around the world to include the counter-ISIL campaign, counterterrorism efforts, our efforts together in Afghanistan, our efforts, again, to respond to Russian aggression in Ukraine, and our collaboration in terms of promoting global economic growth. So a broad agenda to discuss with Prime Minister Cameron," Rhodes said.

On Saturday, Obama will have a town hall meeting with young people, at Lindley Hall in London, where he will have the chance to talk about the special relationship between the US and the UK, the agenda that they share together, and the world, and his vision for the future of the cooperation between the two countries.

On Sunday, he will be in Germany for the Hannover Messe.

"The President felt it was very important that he has the opportunity to go to Germany in his final year in office. Chancellor Angela Merkel has been a close partner for his entire time in office, and we are working together with Germany on a host of issues, including our commercial ties and the economic collaboration that is represented by the Hannover Messe," Rhodes said.

On Sunday, Obama will have a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Merkel. The two leaders will open the Hannover trade show that evening.

"They will each be making remarks as a part of that program. Then that night, we expect that the President and Chancellor Merkel will both have an opportunity to have dinner together with a group of American and German business leaders," he said.

On Monday, 25 April, Obama and Merkel will have an opportunity in the morning to tour the trade show on the Hannover Messe fairgrounds to see some of the work that is being done and displayed in Hannover, after which the President will deliver a speech.

"This speech allows him to step back at a time when the US and Europe together are dealing with a range of challenges, from counter-ISIL and the threat of terrorism, to the current refugee crisis and our efforts to address both the humanitarian aspects and the migratory aspects of that crisis.

"Besides, to our shared commitment to Ukraine and its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to our shared efforts to combat the headwinds in the global economy and promote sustainable growth," Rhodes said.

In Germany, Obama will address the challenges facing democracies in the US and Europe, have a chance to look at the range of different issues confronting these countries, but also review what they have done over the course of the last seven and a half years of his presidency and look ahead to what we need to be doing going forward.

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Updated Date: Apr 20, 2016 08:20:04 IST

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