Saudi king to visit Trump in Washington next year
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Saudi king to visit Trump in Washington next year

In phone call, leaders discuss enhancing security and prosperity in the Middle East

US President Donald Trump (C) receives the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (R) at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.  (AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN)
US President Donald Trump (C) receives the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (R) at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia plans to visit US President Donald Trump at the White House early next year.

The White House says the leaders agreed on Salman’s visit when they spoke by telephone Wednesday.

They also discussed shared interests, including enhancing security and prosperity in the Middle East.

It was the second call between the two leaders in a week. On August 31, the Trump and Salman discussed fighting terror and cutting off terror financing, according to the White House.

Saudi Arabia was the first stop on Trump’s first overseas trip earlier this year, before visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The Saudis are thought to be part of a regional agreement Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are reportedly trying to put together that would see normalized relations with the Sunni Arab world as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu hailed what he said were Israel’s best-ever ties with the Sunni Arab world, likely a reference to behind-the-scenes relationships with the Saudis and other Gulf states.

Hailing a “breakthrough” in Israel’s outreach to moderate Sunni states in the region, he acknowledged that these ties have not advanced to the point where those states have acknowledged them in public.

“What is actually happening with [the Arab states] has never happened in our history, even when we signed agreements,” Netanyahu told Israeli diplomats at a Jewish New Year’s toast at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. Cooperation between Israel and Arab states exists “in various ways and different levels,” though it still isn’t visible above the surface, he said, adding that away from the public eye, “there is much more than during any other period in the history of Israel. This is a tremendous change. The entire world is changing.”

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