The U.S. is close to the completion of a number of arms deals that add up to over $100 billion with Saudi Arabia, said a senior official in the White House a week before President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the Gulf Coast kingdom.
The official asked for anonymity, but said that the arms package could up end being even as high as $300 billion during the next decade to help boost the defense capabilities of Saudi Arabia.
The officials said the final stages are taking place of a series of different deals. The package was developed to coincide with the visit of Trump to the kingdom. Trump will leave for Saudi Arabia May 19, which will mark his first international trip.
Last week it was reported that the White House was pushing through contracts for arms sales to the Saudis for tens of billions of dollars of which some were new, while others were already in progress.
The U.S. has been Saudi’s military’s biggest supplier selling them F-15 fighter jets to control and command systems over the past few years, worth billions and billions of dollars.
Trump vowed he would stimulate the economy in the U.S. through increasing the number of manufacturing jobs.
This arms package includes arms as well as maintenance, air missile defense, ships and maritime security, said the official. The idea said the official is build capabilities for threats they continue to face.
The officials said the deals are good for the economy in the U.S. but it would also be good for building capability that is needed for the different challenges across that region.
While he is in Riyadh, Trump will attend three events including a number of meetings with officials from Saudi Arabia, a session with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council that consists of six nations and lunch with Muslim and Arab leaders, 56 of whom were invited to talk about combating extremism as well as trying to stop illicit financing.
Trump is scheduled to discuss countering the Islamic State militant threat, the war currently in Yemen as well as threats of ballistic missile and Red Sea maritime shipping.
Commanders in the U.S. Navy have accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of jeopardizing navigation in international waters through harassing from its warships that travel the Strait of Hormuz.
A big part of the president’s agenda with the leaders of the Gulf nations will be the civil war in Syria amidst calls to have de-escalation areas inside Syria to provide Syrian refugees with safe havens.