Video: Donald Trump gleefully takes part in sword dance with Saudi Arabia's King Salman

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Associated Press

President Donald Trump basked in Saudi Arabia's lavish royal welcome this morning as he left behind, at least temporarily, the snowballing controversies dogging him in Washington.

The US president was greeted with a grand royal welcome ahead of a state dinner in his honour.
Source: Associated Press

Mr Trump rewarded his hosts with a $159 billion arms package aimed at bolstering Saudi security and a slew of business agreements.

"That was a tremendous day, tremendous investments in the United States," Mr Trump said during a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

The visit to the kingdom's capital kicked off Mr Trump's first foreign trip as president, an ambitious, five-stop swing that will take him through the Middle East and into Europe.

He is the only American president to make Saudi Arabia — or any Muslim-majority nation — his first overseas trip.

Mr Trump arrived in Riyadh besieged by the fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey and more revelations about the federal investigations into his election campaign's possible ties to Russia.

After an overnight flight, the president was greeted at the airport by King Salman, which was notable given that the monarch did not show up last year to welcome President Barack Obama on his final visit to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Trump descended the steps alongside first lady Melania Trump, who wore a black pantsuit and gold belt, but did not cover her hair in the ultra-conservative kingdom, in keeping with the traditions of Western delegations.

As Mr Trump and the 81-year-old king, who was aided by a cane, walked along the red carpet, military jets flew swept the sky, leaving a red, white and blue trail.

During a ceremony at the grand Saudi Royal Court, King Salman awarded Trump the Collar of Abdulaziz al Saud, the kingdom's highest civilian honour and breifly joined the king in a tradional male-only sword dance before a state dinner in his honour. 

Saudi Arabia has previously bestowed the honour on Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Obama.

Mr Trump made no substantial remarks on his first day abroad and spent most of his time shuttling between opulent palace ballrooms with the king.

The two were overheard discussing natural resources and arms, and King Salman bemoaned the destruction caused by Syria's civil war.

The most tangible agreement between the two leaders was the $159 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia that is effective immediately and could expand up to $505 million over 10 years.

The deal includes tanks, combat ships, missile defence systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology. 

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