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Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia: record arms deal and strategic partnership agreement

May 21, 7:38 UTC+3 AL KUWAIT

The parties signed a number of agreements for $ 280 bln, including the largest in the history of the US defense contract

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US President Donald J. Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

US President Donald J. Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

© EPA/SAUDI PRESS AGENCY HANDOUT

AL KUWAIT, May 21. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump signed the biggest arms deal in the history of US on the first day of his visit to Saudi Arabia. The parties agreed on full-fledged strategic partnership and signed a number of agreements for the total amount of $280 bln.

Record arms deal

According to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, the sum of the record arms contract exceeded $109.7 bln. The documents were signed by Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The agreements envisage the development and modernization of the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia, in particular, the improvement of the systems of Saudi air defense and "smart weapons" and establishment of facilities for production of other types of weapons on the territory of the Kingdom. In addition, the US signed a memorandum of intent to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons worth $350 billion over 10 years.

The profile ministers of the two countries also signed under a memorandum between the Saudi Corporation for the Development of Information Technologies and Apple, agreements on cooperation in the field of electricity, mining and air transportation. The latter document provides for the purchase of Boeing aircraft by the national air carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines.

The parties approved joint investment projects for the development of technology, infrastructure and housing sector, as well as the petrochemical industry of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi state oil company Saudi Aramco signed agreements with US partners for a total of $50 bln.

Simultaneously with the visit of the US President to the kingdom, a US-Saudi economic forum was held. At that forum executive directors of 50 US companies and 40 Saudi companies concluded a number of agreements. Participants in the meeting agreed that the meeting should be held on an annual basis.

Joint declaration

The declaration on long-term partnership became the final document of the Saudi-US summit in Riyadh.

The joint declaration said the two countries' fight is with "violent extremists" who threaten peace in the Middle East, but will find "a growing group of regional partners arrayed against them, confronting their aggression and sowing the seeds of peace."

The countries agreed to form a joint advisory group, which will meet at least once a year to set guidelines for the development of bilateral cooperation. It will be supervised by the US President and King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud or their authorized representatives.

Iran

Iran's policy in the region became one of the key issues during the final press conference of the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir. The visit of the head of the US administration coincided with the presidential elections in the Islamic Republic. Speaking at the press conference Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called upon Iran's president Hassan Rouhani who has just been reelected to this post, to end all support and financing of terrorist groups.

Tillerson said Rouhani now has the opportunity to end Iran's role in supporting "destabilizing forces that exist in this region." He also expressed his hope that Iran puts an end to its ballistic missile testing and "restores the rights of Iranians to freedom of speech, to freedom of organization, so Iranians can live the life they deserve."

Warm welcome

US President Trump arrived in Riyadh on Saturday morning. Saudi Arabia was the first stop in his debut foreign tour. This happened for the first time in the US history and Riyadh attaches importance to this fact. At the capital's airport, the host of the White House was met by the King of Saudi Arabia. The Arab media immediately drew attention to this fact, recalling that in April 2016, the former US President was given a much more "cold welcome".

During the visit and ahead of it, the Saudi authorities repeatedly stressed the historical nature of Trump's arrival. In Riyadh, this day is considered a turning point in Saudi-American relations and a symbol of the return of the United States to the region.

On May 21, Trump will attend a summit meeting of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait. Later he will take part in the talks that will be held in an expanded format involving leaders of other Arab and Islamic countries.

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