Melania, Ivanka Trump abstain from wearing headscarves in S. Arabia

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Trump, having visited Saudi Arabia for two days, declared he saw the possibility of a new alignment of Muslim nations and Israel against a shared foe - Iran.

Trump had previously slammed former first lady Michelle Obama for refusing to wear a head scarf in Saudi Arabia.

Arriving directly from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Trump expressed his hope for cooperation among US allies in the Middle East.

The Saudi visit is the first leg of an eight-day foreign tour - Trump s first as president - that will take him on Monday to Israel and then the Palestinian territories and on to Europe.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hit back on Twitter, posting a seemingly sarcastic tweet that read " Iran-fresh from real elections-attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy & moderation" Saudi Arabia.

Officials spent the days before Mr Trump's departure dealing with a steady stream of revelations about the federal investigation into his campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation and the fallout from his firing of FBI director James Comey.

Air Force One touched down earlier Saturday at the King Khalid airport in Riyadh, where Trump was greeted on a red carpet-bedecked tarmac by King Salman and other high-level Saudi officials.

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First Lady Melania Trump has visited an global school in Saudia Arabia, spending time with young students. On Monday in Jerusalem, he will pray at the Western Wall and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

White House aides have also tried to play down expectations for significant progress on the peace process during Trump's stop, casting the visit as symbolic. He said he had not "information or knowledge" on the matter. The U.S. has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over parts of the Old City seized in the 1967 war. And while the president singled out Iran for criticism, he made no mention of his administration's decision to abide by the agreement negotiated by his predecessor to curtail Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relaxing sanctions.

During meetings this weekend, Trump will work to develop relationships with the leaders, with whom the United States hopes to partner to fight extremism.

President Donald Trump, who is visiting Saudi Arabia to attend world Islamic conference in Riyadh, is accompanied by wife Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

It's a far cry from Trump's campaign rhetoric that accused Muslims of hating America - even repeating unfounded claims that hundreds of Arabs cheered the destruction of the World Trade Center from across the river on 9/11.

The US president did not use his signature term "radical Islamic terrorism" in the speech, a signal that he heeded advice to employ a more moderate tone in the region after using the phrase repeatedly as a presidential candidate.

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Trump lands in Saudi Arabia as controversies swirl at home".

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