US nears $100 bil­lion arms deal with Saudi Ara­bia ahead of Trump’s trip

Ahead of the US pres­i­dent’s visit to Saudi Ara­bia, a series of multi-bil­lion-dol­lar arms deals have been out­lined.The pre­vi­ous US ad­min­is­tra­tion sus­pended some sup­plies be­cause of hu­man rights con­cerns

The Daily News Egypt - - Politics -

DW—A se­nior, un­named White House of­fi­cial said the US was close to com­plet­ing a series of deals to sell Saudi Ara­bia arms and re­lated main­te­nance worth $100 bil­lion (91.4 bil­lion eu­ros), ac­cord­ing to Reuters.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump be­gins an in­ter­na­tional tour next Fri­day with the first stop in Saudi Ara­bia, fol­lowed by vis­its to Is­rael, the Vat­i­can, Brus­sels for a NATO Sum­mit, and Si­cily for a Group of Seven Sum­mit.

“We are in the fi­nal stages of a series of deals,” theWhite House of­fi­cial said on Fri­day.The arms pack­age could be worth more than $300 bil­lion over a decade,the of­fi­cial said. The US has been the Saudi king­dom’s ma­jor arms sup­plier, de­liv­er­ing F-15 fighter jets, and com­mand and con­trol sys­tems worth tens of bil­lions of dol­lars in re­cent years.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama had can­celed a series of planned weapons sales to Saudi Ara­bia in the last months of his ad­min­is­tra­tion be­cause of the Saudi-led air cam­paign in Ye­men, which had led to nu­mer­ous civil­ian ca­su­al­ties.

Trump has al­ready met with Saudi deputy crown prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, who yields much in­flu­ence in the king­dom due to the frailty of the 81-year-old King Sal­man. The 31-year-old prince is also de­fence min­is­ter and has led an ag­gres­sive cam­paign both mil­i­tar­ily in Ye­men and po­lit­i­cally against Iran and Shia Mus­lims.

The UN es­ti­mates that 17 mil­lion of Ye­men’s 27 mil­lion peo­ple are “food in­se­cure”, in­clud­ing 3.3 mil­lion chil­dren (some 462,000 un­der the age of five) and preg­nant and breast-feed­ing moth­ers, who are “acutely mal­nour­ished.” Restor­ing US-Saudi ties Trump and Sal­man met 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.

US na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser H.R. McMaster pre­viewed Trump’s first for­eign tour to Saudi Ara­bia, Is­rael, Italy, and Bel­gium in a White House brief­ing on Fri­day.“Pres­i­den­tTrump un­der­stands that Amer­ica first does not meanAmer­ica alone,” McMaster told re­porters.“To the con­trary, pri­ori­tis­ing Amer­ica’s in­ter­ests means strength­en­ing al­liances.”

McMaster said Trump “will en­cour­age our Arab and Mus­lim part­ners to take bold, new steps to pro­mote peace and to con­front those, from ISIS to al Qaeda to Iran to the As­sad regime, who per­pet­u­ate chaos and vi­o­lence that has in­flicted so much suf­fer­ing through­out the Mus­lim world and be­yond.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump be­gins an in­ter­na­tional tour next Fri­day with the first stop in Saudi Ara­bia

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