"Drive them out": Trump calls on Arab nations to take the lead in fight against terror

Helen Cahill
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Trump speaking to more than 60 Muslim-majority nations (Source: Getty)

US President Donald Trump has called on Arab nations to take a larger role in their own defence, saying that the region must "deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil".

Trump was speaking in his first keynote speech abroad as President at the Arabic Islamic American summit, an unprecedented meeting of Muslim-majority nations and America. He addressed representatives of more than 60 nations.

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"The Middle East should not be a place from which refugees flee but to which newcomers flock," Trump said.

"This is not a battle between different faiths...this is a battle between good and evil."

However, he said that countries in the Middle East must not wait for America to combat terrorists alone, and must instead take steps to "drive them out". Signalling his attitudes to foreign policy, he said Americans will push for "gradual reform, not sudden intervention".

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Trump also used his speech as an opportunity to condemn Iran. He attacked the country for encouraging instability in the wider region, and said that the international community must work to "isolate" Iran.

He said:

Iran has a rich history and culture but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair.

Yesterday, the US signed trade deals worth $350bn (£270bn) with Saudi Arabia, including an arms deal Trump said was worth $110bn. He promised today that he would work to ensure the Saudis get a "great deal" from American defence companies.

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