Published: Mon, June 05, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

Melania Trump Hails 'Empowerment of Women' at Saudi Company Visit

Melania Trump Hails 'Empowerment of Women' at Saudi Company Visit

Like past USA first ladies visiting Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump's hair was not covered in the local custom, and she shook Salman's hand upon arriving in the kingdom.

Yet he maintained a surprisingly moderate tone while delivering an important message about the Muslim world's need to take the lead in the fight against Islamic State and other terrorist movements.

She is accompanying US President Donald Trump on his first global visit since taking office in January, and told 200 female employees she tried to find balance between her role of first lady and mother.

"That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism, and the Islamists, and Islamic terror of all kinds", he said in his speech. "Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship, drive them out of your communities, drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth".

President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia this week has already begun to soften his attitudes about Islam, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday after a two-day summit in which Trump was treated to extraordinary Arab hospitality.

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

During the 2016 United States campaign, Mr Trump mused about his belief that "Islam hates us".

In a statement following the meeting, Trump addressed his meetings the previous day with Arab and Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia, and said that there is growing realization that they share a "common cause with you" in their determination to defeat extremism and deter "the threat posed by Iran".

Zarif suggested indicated that Trump had during his Saudi Arabia visit milked his hosts of hundreds of billions of dollars in business deals. But on Sunday, standing before dozens of regional leaders, he said Islam was "one of the world's great faiths".

Trump had previously slammed former first lady Michelle Obama for refusing to wear a head scarf in Saudi Arabia.

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On his maiden foreign tour since taking office in January, Trump is already showing signs of fatigue from a packed schedule.

Read the full transcript of Donald Trump's speech here.

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE's ambassador to the United States, said in a statement that his country's donation shows "our commitment to empowering women in our region and builds on the progress we have made in our country, where women play a role in every segment of society".

A White House official blamed Trump's fatigue for the switch. But Trump's offhand remark was another stark reminder that his troubles at home, including the investigation of his campaign's ties to Russian Federation and his firing of FBI Director James Comey, have followed him across the ocean. While Trump campaigned as a strident opponent of the nuclear deal, his administration is still reviewing whether to scrap the accord.

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