US, Saudi Arabia Seal $110 Billion Arms Deal

Donald Trump (L) and King Salman signing a deal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20Donald Trump (L) and King Salman signing a deal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20

Washington announced a huge arms deal with Riyadh on Saturday, as US President Donald Trump began a foreign tour looking to leave domestic troubles behind.

The $110 billion deal for Saudi purchases of US defense equipment and services came at the start of an eight-day trip that will also take Trump to Beit-ul-Moqaddas, the Vatican and meetings with leaders in Europe.

“I think this is what both sides are trying to project here: a successful meeting and the US relationship with Saudi Arabia returning to the way it was before President Obama,” Aljazeera’s James Bays reported.

“Because certainly the White House says that it feels President Obama ‘abandoned’ Saudi Arabia and this region, and they want the whole world to know that now they are getting things ‘back on track’.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said in the joint press conference with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson that the two countries had signed a “joint strategic vision declaration” and hailed the talks as a “truly historic day in the relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States, and we believe the beginning of a turning point in the relationship between the United States and the Arab and Islamic world”.

The arms agreements are part of a series of wider trade deals.

Jubeir said “the total value of those investments is in excess of $380 billion,” and claimed the deals would lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US and Saudi Arabia.

US conglomerate General Electric announced earlier on Saturday that it had also signed agreements and memorandums of understanding worth $15 billion.

On Tuesday, Trump heads to Rome to meet with Pope Francis. The two men are at odds on everything from climate change to refugee policy, although the pontiff says he will give the US leader an open-minded hearing.


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