Washington: US President Donald Trump has said his first trip overseas to "lands associated with three of the world's great religions" is aimed at uniting the civilized world in a fight against terrorism.
Trump, who embarked on a nine-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican, Belgium and Italy, said in his weekly web and radio address to the nation that he would represent the views of the American people frankly and clearly.
“I will be visiting with the leaders in many different countries to strengthen our old friendships, build new partnerships, and unite the civilized world in a fight against terrorism.
"In that spirit of unity, I will travel to lands associated with three of the world's great religions,” Trump said.
The address was recorded prior to his departure and released after he left for Riyadh aboard Air Force One from the Joint Andrews Airforce Base on Friday.
“My first stop will be Saudi Arabia – the heart of the Muslim world. There, I will address a historic gathering of the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations", he said.
Many world leaders, he said, had expressed growing concern about terrorism, the spread of radicalization, and Iran's role in funding both.
“Now it appears Muslim leaders are ready to take more responsibility and a much bigger role in fighting terrorism in their region. It’s about time we do it, we’ll do it together, but it has to be done,” he said.
“America cannot solve all of the world's problems, but we can and we must help any nation willing to join in the common cause of eradicating terrorism from the face of the earth", Trump said.
From Saudi Arabia, the president said, he travels to the ancient city of Jerusalem for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bringing peace and prosperity to both the nations.
“Israel is an important American ally, but in recent years we haven't always treated them that way", he said adding that it was time to renew this friendship.
“While I'm there, I'll also meet with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem to discuss ways to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians".
Next on his itinerary is the Vatican where he said he would have the “great honour of an audience with Pope Francis”. He looks forward to speaking with the Pope about how Christian teachings can help put the world on a path to justice, freedom and peace.
“I will also meet with friends and allies in Europe at a gathering of NATO in Brussels and at the G-7 Summit in Italy.
"Finally, I will close my trip by saying thank you to some of the courageous men and women of the United State Military serving their nation overseas.”
Referring to his inaugural address, Trump said he pledged to strengthen America's oldest friendships, to seek new
partners in pursuit of peace and, above all, to always put American people first.
“I also pledged that our partners must show that they’re partners, they must show that they’re friends, and they must contribute financially to the tremendous cost – the money that we’re spending – is so big; it’s so much; and it’s not fair for our nation", Trump said.
Updated Date: May 20, 2017 12:16:47 IST