Sunday 27 May 2018

US inches towards $100bn Saudi weapons deal

RIYADH, May 13, 2017

The US was close to completing a series of deals to sell Saudi Arabia arms and related maintenance worth $100 billion, said a Reuters report, citing a senior White House official.

President Donald Trump begins an international tour next Friday with the first stop in Saudi Arabia, followed by visits in Israel, the Vatican, Brussels for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit and Sicily for a Group of Seven (G7) summit.

"We are in the final stages of a series of deals," said the White House official on condition of anonymity.

The arms package could be worth more than $300 billion over a decade, he revealed.

The US has been the Saudi kingdom's major arms supplier, delivering F-15 fighter jets, command and control systems worth tens of billions of dollars in recent years.

Trump has already met Saudi Arabia's powerful deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who yields much influence in the kingdom. The 31-year-old prince is also defence minister and has led an aggressive campaign both militarily in Yemen and politically against Iran.

Prince Mohammed met Trump at the White House in Washington in March. The Bloomberg news agency reported on Thursday that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund could invest up to $40 billion in US infrastructure.

Tags: Saudi | US | weapons deal |

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