RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (Kurdistan24) – The United States is preparing a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia ahead of the US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh later this week, according to a White House official.
The arms deal could surpass USD $300 billion over a decade, the unnamed official told Reuters on Friday.
“We are in the final stages of a series of deals,” the official said.
The arms package is expected to be ready before Trump travels to Saudi Arabia on May 19 as part of his first overseas visit to the Middle East.
Washington has been the Saudi’s main supplier of military weapons and equipment, with Riyadh purchasing billions of dollars in fighter jets and control systems in the past.
Some rights groups have criticized the US for providing Saudi Arabia with arms while it continues its war with Yemen.
However, the White House official told Reuters the deal is an attempt for President Trump to fulfill his pledge of “stimulating the US economy through manufacturing.”
“It’s good for the American economy, but it will also be good in terms of building a capability that is appropriate for the challenges in the region,” the official added.
Along with his visit to Saudi Arabia, Trump will travel to Israel, Brussels, the Vatican, and Sicily for a NATO Group of Seven summit.
The US President is expected to address the fight against the Islamic State, the ongoing Syrian conflict, and the situation of refugees.
Peace efforts in Syria, specifically the agreement of “de-escalation zones,” will also be a topic of discussion.