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U.S. Said Near $100 Billion Arms Deal With Saudis Ahead Of Trump Visit

Source: RFE/RL

A week ahead of President Donald Trump's planned visit to Riyadh, the United States is preparing an arms deal for Saudi Arabia worth more than $100 billion, the Reuters news agency reported on May 12.

President Donald Trump with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman
White House, March 2017. (file photo)

Citing White House officials, Reuters said the arms package could surpass $300 billion over a decade and will help Saudi Arabia boost defenses against Iran, the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, and other regional threats.

The package is intended to coincide with Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, his first stop on his maiden international trip, which starts on May 19.

The United States historically has been the main supplier of Saudi weapons, providing tens of billions of dollars worth of F-15 fighter jets and other sophisticated arms.

But this is the largest package ever proposed, including ships, air-missile defense, maritime security, and weapons and maintenance contracts, Reuters said.

World military spending was $1.69 trillion in 2016 (see details)

The huge arms deal comes as human rights groups are calling for curbs on sales to the kingdom as thousands of civilian deaths have been blamed on Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen.

The criticism led the Obama administration in December to pull back on providing precision missile systems to Riyadh.

Reuters quoted a Trump official as saying, "It's good for the American economy [while] Israel would still maintain an edge."

Based on reporting by Reuters

... Payvand News - 05/13/17 ... --

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