US State Department approves $500 million military sale to Saudi Arabia

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The US government approved late on Wednesday a $500 million (Dh2.1bn) military sale to Saudi Arabia and has notified Congress, which will now have 30 days to review the sale, but is not required to take any action to approve it.

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale to Saudi Arabia of continuation of missile system support services for an estimated cost of $500 million” a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency read.

The sale follows a request by Saudi Arabia for a possible purchase for continued participation, technical assistance, and support in these categories: Patriot Legacy Field Surveillance Program; the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) FSP; and the Patriot Engineering Services Program. Part of the package also includes patriot and hawk missile system spare parts and other related elements of logistics, repair and program support, the administration said.

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“This proposed sale will support US foreign policy and national security objectives by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East” the statement added.

With this notification, Congress now has 30 days to review it but, according to US law, it is not required to take action for the sale to go through.

The Trump administration ended the short halt (three months) of its predecessor Barack Obama last year on arms sales to Saudi Arabia over concerns related to the ongoing war in Yemen.

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Mr Trump resumed the sales to Saudi Arabia last March, and closed a $110bn deal with Riyadh shortly after. Last October, Washington approved an unprecedented sale of THAAD anti-missile defense system to Saudi Arabia, estimated at $15bn.

Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir met US secretary of state Rex Tillerson in Washington last Friday where they discussed bilateral ties, and regional issues.

Source Credit: The National

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