US Approves $650m Weapon Sale To Saudi Arabia

US Approves $650m Weapon Sale To Saudi Arabia

Thursday’s approval is President Joe Biden administration’s first major weapons deal with the Gulf kingdom.

The US State Department approved the sale to help Riyadh counter current and future threats, the Pentagon said in a statement.

It read in part: “This proposed sale will support US foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East.”

It added that Massachusetts-based firm Raytheon would be the “principal contractor” for the sale of AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment.

The sale comes months after Biden said he would end US support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive operations” in Yemen, including “relevant arms sales”.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, the State Department’s bureau of political-military affairs noted that the missiles are “not used to engage ground targets”.

“We’ve seen an increase in cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia over the past year,” it added.

“Saudi AIM-120C missiles, deployed from Saudi aircraft, have been instrumental in intercepting these attacks that also [put] US forces at risk and over 70,000 US citizens in the Kingdom at risk.”

The sale, which does not require congressional approval, can be blocked by lawmakers. They can pass a disapproval bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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