By Sibel Ugurlu
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have agreed on an arms deal worth almost $110 billion “to support Saudi Arabia's defense needs,” the State Department said in a statement Saturday.
Also confirmed by the White House, the deal -- announced during an official visit by U.S. President Donald Trump -- was described as “a significant expansion of the more than seven-decade-long security relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.
The agreement, which includes a package of defense equipment and services, was signed in an aim to support “the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats”.
The agreement also aims to bolster Saudi Arabia’s ability to provide for its own security and to “reduce the burden on U.S. military force” by contributing to counterterrorism operations across the region, the statement said.
The agreement was also expected to provide new jobs in the U.S. and expand opportunities for American companies in the region.
U.S. sales to Saudi Arabia include five categories: border security and counterterrorism; maritime and coastal security; air force modernization; air and missile defense; and cybersecurity and communications upgrades.
Later in the same day, cooperation agreements worth $280 billion were signed in the presence of the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and President Trump.
Following their private meeting, King Salman and Trump inked a Joint Vision Statement between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also signed a partnership agreement which includes production of BlackHawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia.
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