Speaking to dozens of leaders at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Trump emphasizes over joint efforts against terrorism and calls to isolate Iran.

Trump addressed more than 50 leaders at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Trump addressed more than 50 leaders at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (TRT World and Agencies)

The global fight against terrorism and restraining Iran were the key issues US President Donald Trump put forth in his keenly awaited speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Speaking to dozens of leaders at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, he emphasised mutual priorities and joint action.

The speech in a gilded hall bedecked with chandeliers is part of an effort to redefine his relationship with the Muslim world after Trump frequently attacked Muslims on the campaign trail last year and tried to ban many from entering the United States.

"We are not here to lecture — we are not here to tell other people how to live... or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership — based on shared interests and values," Trump said.

Some 35 heads of state and government from Muslim-majority countries were in Riyadh for the Arab Islamic American Summit, mainly from states friendly to Saudi Arabia.

Trump received a warm welcome from the leaders, who set aside his rhetoric about Muslims and focused on his desire to crackdown on Iran's influence in the region, a commitment they found wanting in former US President Barack Obama.

Trump's Riyadh visit kicks off his first presidential trip abroad, with Saudi Arabia the first stop on a nine-day journey through the Middle East and Europe.

TRT World's Jon Brain reports from Saudi capital Riyadh.

Joint fight against terrorism

Trump called on Arab leaders to do their fair share to "drive out" terrorism from their countries putting the burden of combating militant groups in the region.

He urged Muslim countries to ensure that "terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil" and announced an agreement with Gulf countries to fight financing for terrorists.

"America is prepared to stand with you in pursuit of shared interests and common security. But nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them," he said.

The United States and Gulf Arab countries announced an agreement to coordinate efforts against the financing of terrorist groups.

One such effort was the inauguration of a new centre — The Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology — to counter terrorism.

Common threat

Introducing Trump, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud described their mutual foe Iran as the source of terrorism they must confront together.

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.

Trump did not hesitate to single out Iran in his speech.

He accused Tehran of fuelling "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror" and called for its international isolation.

"From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region," Trump said.

The White House has sought to draw a clear distinction during the visit with Trump's predecessor Obama, who Saudi Arabia and its allies saw as lecturing and soft on their rival Iran.

"Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate it."

'Tremendous' first day

The first day saw the announcement of hundreds of billions of dollars in trade deals, welcome news for Trump as he faces mounting troubles at home linked with the probe into alleged Russian meddling during last year's election campaign.

Among the agreements was a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, described as the largest in US history.

The trade deals announced on Saturday were said to be worth in excess of $380 billion, and Trump proudly declared the first day of his visit "tremendous".

On Sunday, he held a series of meetings with other Arab leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Bahrain's King Hamad.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies