President Trump arrives in Rome after Mideast trip

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump’s first trip abroad (all times local):

7:34 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in Rome for a visit with Pope Francis.

Air Force One landed from Tel Aviv Tuesday evening.

Trump is slated to meet Francis Wednesday at the Vatican. It will be the first meeting for two leaders who have a contentious history.

Francis was critical of Trump’s campaign pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border and his declaration that the United States should turn away Muslim immigrants and refugees.

Trump responded by calling the pope “disgraceful.”

The stop is the third on Trump first foreign trip and follows visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel.


4:18 p.m.

President Donald Trump has wrapped up a two-day visit to Israel.

Rome is the next destination on the president’s four-nation, five-stop tour of the Middle East and Europe.

While in Israel, Trump met with the country’s president and prime minister, and he traveled to the West Bank for talks with the Palestinian Authority’s president.

Trump spoke about signs he’s sees that both sides are serious about wanting peace between their peoples.

Trump prayed at the Western Wall, visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and at Yad Vashem – Israel’s national Holocaust memorial – he paid respects to the 6 million Jews who were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators. Trump also visited the Israel Museum.

Trump meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday.


3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s trip to Israel is making an impression on his popular Twitter feeds.

A photograph of Trump’s visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem is now the background image on his realDonaldTrump account with more than 30 million followers. His official POTUS account features Trump at the airport with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli leaders after his arrival in Tel Aviv. That account has nearly 18 million followers.

Before departing for Italy, Trump’s official Twitter site retweeted tweets by Netanyahu featuring photos of their dinner Monday night and a visit Tuesday to Yad Vashem, Israel national Holocaust memorial.


2:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is telling an audience of Israelis that the Palestinians are “ready to reach for peace.”

Speaking at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Trump says he is “personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement.”

He says his meetings earlier in the day with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lead him to believe that “the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace.”

But Trump also noted that Hamas and Hezbollah rockets are being launched into Israeli communities and schools.

He says a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremism must be built.


2:30 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister is welcoming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ condemnation of the attack in Manchester, England.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he hopes this heralds a “real change.” Netanyahu frequently accuses Abbas of inciting violence.

Netanyahu says Abbas’ condemnation could be “the first and the crucial step toward the road to a genuine peace.”

Netanyahu spoke alongside President Donald Trump in Jerusalem as Trump wrapped up a two-day visit.

The prime minister told Trump that a “durable peace” can be advanced under Trump’s leadership.


2:13 p.m.

A pair of masked men in Gaza posed with rifles pointed at an effigy of President Donald Trump, part of a series of protests in the Hamas-ruled territory against the U.S. leader’s visit to the Holy Land.

The gunmen were from a small faction, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They stood Tuesday on the back of a truck, near a solidarity rally for hunger striking Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Across Gaza, activists staged several small rallies, protesting Trump’s portrayal of the Islamic militant group Hamas as a terrorist group earlier this week. Hamas has ruled Gaza since a takeover in 2007.

The group has refused to renounce violence and opposes attempts by its rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to negotiate a peace deal with Israel.


2 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister says the deadly bombing in Manchester, England, must be “unflinchingly confronted” by the entire world.

Echoing President Donald Trump’s comments that the attackers were “losers,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “it’s our job to make sure that they continue to lose.”

Netanyahu spoke at a ceremony with Trump at Israel’s national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

The prime minister said the “slaughter of innocents must be unconditionally condemned and unflinchingly confronted,” wherever it occurs.

Netanyahu also said Israel must be able “to defend itself by itself.” He praised Trump’s commitment to Israel’s security.


1:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial, is a testament to the “unbreakable spirit” of the Jewish people.

Speaking after a brief ceremony at the site in Jerusalam, Trump says words can never describe the “bottomless depths” of the evil that led to the killing of 6 million Jews by the Nazis during World War II. Trump calls the period “history’s darkest hour” and says the only way to “prevent this agony from repeating” is to never “be silent in the face of evil.”

Trump says the Holocaust was the most savage crime against God and his children.

He says everyone has a solemn duty to remember, mourn, grieve and honor every life that was extinguished during the Holocaust.


1:19 p.m.

President Donald Trump is visiting Israel’s national Holocaust memorial, the Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem.

Wearing a skullcap, Trump took part in a brief ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and paid his respects to the 6 million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators.

Trump rekindled the eternal flame, and he and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath of red and white flowers upon a stone slab. The slab sits atop an area of the museum where ashes of Holocaust victims from the extermination camps are buried. Both then observed a moment of silence.

Trump was also accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, and daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, an orthodox Jew.


1:02 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump has spoken to Britain’s head of government about the latest terrorist attack.

Spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted Tuesday, “POTUS has spoken with U.K. Prime Minister theresa_may to offer condolences and support on behalf of the US.”

More than 20 people were killed at a concert in Manchester, England late Monday, in an apparent suicide attack.

Trump heads to Europe from Israel on Tuesday after spending four days in the Middle East.

Earlier, the president delivered a joint statement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, during which he said, “The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever.”


12:30 p.m.

A West Bank settler leader says he hopes that President Donald Trump’s statements in Bethlehem mean he has abandoned the longstanding American goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state.

Oded Revivi is the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha settlers’ council. He notes Trump made no mention of Palestinian independence during a statement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and only spoke of peace.

Revivi says he hopes it means the U.S. has “moved on from this failed policy and will now work together to build true and lasting peace from the ground up.”

Trump said alongside Abbas that an agreement with Israel could “begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East.”

Trump is scheduled to deliver a policy speech in Jerusalem later Tuesday.


11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says that if Israel and the Palestinians can forge peace, it will spill over across the region.

Trump is expressing his hope that America can help both parties work out their longstanding differences. He’s speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

Trump says he is “truly hopeful that America can help Israel and the Palestinians forge peace and bringing new hope the region and its people.”

Trump says he firmly believes that “if Israeli and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East.”

He says “that would be an amazing accomplishment.”


11:20 a.m.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is ready to be President Donald Trump’s partner in trying to reach a Mideast deal that would establish a Palestinian state on lands Israel captured half a century ago.

Standing next to Trump, Abbas says the Palestinians “are committed to working with you to reach a historic peace deal between us and Israel.”

Abbas spoke after a meeting with Trump on Tuesday in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem.

The Palestinian president says the conflict with Israel is not of a religious nature. He says that “our main problem is with the occupation and settlements.”

Abbas called on Israel to accept the demands for better conditions by hundreds of imprisoned Palestinians who have been on a hunger strike for 37 days.


11:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is expressing solidarity with the United Kingdom in the wake of a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, condemning the “evil losers” behind the blast.

Trump spoke Tuesday after a meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Manchester police say an apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device at the end of the concert. Police raised the death toll to 22 early Tuesday, and dozens more have been reported injured.

Trump says the attack preyed on “innocent children.” He says this “wicked ideology must be obliterated. And I mean completely obliterated.”

Trump says “civilized nations must join together to protect human life.”


10 a.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Trump was greeted Tuesday morning by Abbas at the president’s headquarters in Bethlehem and their meeting is now underway.

The leaders are expected to discuss resuming long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Trump has said he wants to broker a deal that has proven elusive for the past two decades. The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel a half century ago.


9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s motorcade is entering biblical Bethlehem in the West Bank, passing through an opening in Israel’s towering separation barrier.

Trump is meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to talk about resuming long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Trump’s brief journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem offered a visual reminder of the complexities of the conflict.

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967. More than a decade ago, Israel built a separation barrier in the West Bank, saying it is a defense against Palestinian militants who carried out deadly attacks. Palestinians say the barrier is a land grab because it slices off 10 percent of the West Bank.

Bethlehem is ringed by the barrier on three sides.


9:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is meeting Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The two leaders will meet in the West Bank. Trump is expected to make remarks during the meeting on the deadly explosion at a concert in Manchester, England.

Later Tuesday, Trump will visit the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, where he will deliver a speech.

Trump is eager to get Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to restart dormant Middle East peace talks. Still, White House officials have downplayed expectations for a significant breakthrough on this trip.

The president is in the midst of a five-stop foreign trip that will also take him to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis, Brussels and Sicily.


7:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s first visit to Jerusalem as president is being overshadowed by reminders of tumult back home.

Trump placed a note in the ancient stones of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. And he sent a signal of solidarity to an ally he’s pushing to work harder toward peace with the Palestinians.

Yet Trump himself brought up a source of criticism. He unexpectedly offered a new defense of his disclosure of classified information to Russian diplomats.

He told reporters he never mentioned Israel in the meeting. Various officials have said that was the source of the classified intelligence. But Trump hasn’t been accused of doing that.

Trump’s offhand remark was another stark reminder that his troubles at home, including investigations of his campaign’s ties to Russia, have followed him across the ocean.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

5/23/2017 12:39:01 PM (GMT -4:00)

Categories: Associated Press, News, US, World

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