Malaysia to help Saudis show Trump peaceful vision of Islam

Foreign ministers pose for a group photo ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 17 May 2017. Foreign ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are meeting to discuss the GCC-US Summit and Arab-Islamic-US Summit, to take place on 21 May, which will also be attended by US President Donald Trump.(EPA)

RIYADH: Malaysia is set to support Saudi Arabia-led efforts to show a peaceful vision of Islam to visiting United States US President Donald Trump amid wars against radicals, at a summit here tomorrow.

Najib was invited by Saudi ruler King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to participate in the Arab Islamic American-US Summit this weekend as Trump, according to observers, looked to build bridges after allegations of Islamophobia against his administration and its effort to bar travellers from six Muslim-majority countries.

The summit, observers added, was also part of preparations for a new US strategy mobilising the Muslim world against the Islamic State, as well as against groups such as Lebanon-based Hizbollah.

Najib is one of the leaders scheduled to speak at the summit.

Leaders and representatives from of 54 other countries, from the Southeast Asian Sultanate of Brunei to Africa’s Niger and heavyweights like including Turkey, had also been invited to for tomorrow’s summit with Trump.

Najib is also scheduled to attend the inauguration of the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology here, with Malaysia expected to play a major role in the centre’s development.

This is a recognition not only by Saudi Arabia but also by the wider world of the active and important role that Malaysia plays in the global effort to combat terrorism, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

On the final day of his visit on Monday, Najib is expected to have an audience with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Naif Al-Saud and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud.

The meetings will provide the opportunity for both sides to discuss bilateral and regional issues of common interest.

“Malaysia and Saudi Arabia are working closely to promote peace, stability and security in the Islamic world and beyond. It is expected that the prime minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia will enhance these efforts as well as to further strengthen bilateral relations, which are already at an all-time high,” the ministry said.

Najib is also also expected to have a bilateral meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Najib is accompanied by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the special functions minister, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, as well as senior government officials.

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