Trump visits Israel amid tight security

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  • Saudi king says Iran at forefront of global terrorism
  • Iran foreign minister scorns Donald Trump after speech, arms deal

US President Donald Trump is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, as he continues his first foreign trip.

He flies in from Saudi Arabia, a key US ally, where he gave a speech to Arab and Muslim leaders at a summit.

Mr Trump will hold talks with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the course of his two-day stop.

The president has called an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement “the ultimate deal”, but has been vague about what form it should take.

He has said he prefers to leave it to both sides to decide between them in direct talks.

At a summit in Riyadh on Sunday, Mr Trump called on Arab and Muslim leaders to take the lead in combating Islamist militants, urging them to “drive them out of this earth”.

He singled out Iran – Saudi Arabia and Israel’s main foe – saying it had “fuelled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror” in the region for decades.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later hit back on Twitter, suggesting the US was milking Saudi Arabia for billions of dollars in newly-signed arms deals.

In his speech, Mr Trump also stated again that he believed peace between Israelis and Palestinians was possible.

The US president has been widely seen as considerably more supportive of Israel than his predecessor, Barack Obama. He has taken a softer position on the contentious issue of Israeli settlements, suggesting that their expansion rather than their presence might hamper the search for peace.

In the meantime, Iran’s ruling powers represent the “tip of the spear” of global terrorism, Saudi King Salman said in a speech on Sunday during a visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to the kingdom.

The King said: “Our responsibility before God and our people and the whole world is to stand united to fight the forces of evil and extremism wherever they are …

The Iranian regime represents the tip of the spear of global terrorism.”

The king also said in a televised speech that Saudi Arabia would not be lenient in trying anyone who finances terrorism.

“We will never be lenient in trying anyone who finances terrorism, in any way or means, to the full force of the law.”

In another development, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday criticised U.S. President Donald Trump for sealing an arms deal and other investments worth hundreds of billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia, Tehran`s arch-rival in the Middle East.

Zarif`s comments came hours after Trump, who is visiting Saudi Arabia, urged Arab and Islamic leaders to unite and defeat Islamist extremists. Trump singled out Iran as a key sponsor of militant groups, sending a tough message to Tehran the day after Hassan Rouhani won a second term as Iran`s president.

“Iran – fresh from real elections – attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy & moderation. Foreign Policy or simply milking KSA of $480B?,” Zarif wrote in a Twitter post, referring to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have long accused each other of sponsoring militias aligned to their competing sects of Islam in conflicts across the Middle East.

Introducing Trump, Saudi King Salman described Tehran as a mutual foe and a source of terrorism they must confront together.

In his first keynote speech abroad, Trump sought to redefine his relationship with the Muslim world, and focused on his desire to curb Iran`s influence in the region.
“For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” he said.

BBC with additional report from Zee

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