US President Donald Trump will use his first visit to the Middle East to call for unity in the fight against radicalism in the Muslim world, casting the challenge as a “battle between good and evil” and urging Arab leaders to “drive out the terrorists from your places of worship,” according to a draft of the speech obtained by The Associated Press.
Abandoning some of the harsh anti-Muslim rhetoric of his presidential campaign, the draft of the speech, slated to be delivered in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, envisions new partnerships with America’s traditional allies in the Middle East. It notably refrains from mentioning democracy and human rights, topics Arab leaders often view as US moralising, in favour of the more limited goals of peace and stability.
“We are not here to lecture, to tell other peoples how to live, what to do or who to be. We are here instead to offer partnership in building a better future for us all,” the document said.
Trump left Washington Friday afternoon for Riyadh, the first stop on his maiden trip overseas as president. The trip is a key test of the president’s diplomatic skills and a chance to add substance to a foreign policy he has described broadly as “America First.”