WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. State Department. has approved a $5.4 billion sale of military equipment and related items to Saudi Arabia, according to the Pentagon.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a written statement that Congress has been notified of the possible sale of Patriot missiles, associated equipment and logistical support, that awaits approval.
“The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a partner which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” the statement said.
It added that the sale would “modernize and replenish” the kingdom’s current Patriot missile stockpile and “support current and future defense missions and promote stability within the region”.
The timing of the sale was “notable”, according to some media reports, due to Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s visit to Saudi Arabia last week.
Carter’s Mideast trip was considered as a way to try to sell the recently signed Iran nuclear agreement and calm concerns of the region’s states, including Saudi Arabia.
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