President Donald Trump is expected to travel to the Middle East this week for a first foreign visit as president, a White House official told reporters on Thursday.
Trump’s second foreign trip will begin on Sunday in Saudi Arabia, the official said, adding that it is not clear when the president will arrive in Israel.
Trump will likely take questions at the National Prayer Breakfast, the source said, and will then be in Brussels, the European Union’s headquarters, for an EU foreign ministers meeting.
“This is an incredibly important time for President Trump,” said Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
“This trip to the region will be a great opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to peace and stability in the Middle Sea, as well as to build a lasting, lasting relationship with Israel and to demonstrate that the United States is truly committed to peace.”
During the presidency of Barack Obama, the United Nations Security Council had repeatedly called on Israel to end the blockade of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, that was imposed by Israel’s military occupation of the territories in 1967.
The Trump administration has sought to strike a more conciliatory tone in recent weeks, calling for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, and has taken steps to strengthen ties with Israel’s allies, particularly the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and Egypt.
Trump’s trip to Israel is likely to highlight his support for a two-state solution, which the United Kingdom and the United State have rejected.
Trump will be accompanied by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is also the president’s son, Jared, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was appointed by Trump.
Trump also will visit the White House, where he will meet with top White House officials.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.