- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 20, 2017

President Trump and King Salman signed a series of agreements Saturday that cement ties between their two countries, including a nearly $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and deals for economic investments in both countries.

“That was a tremendous day,” said Mr. Trump. “Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.”

The deal for defense equipment and services are aimed at helping Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region fend off Iranian threats, bolstering the kingdom’s ability to contribute to counterterrorism operations and reducing the burden on the U.S. military in the region, said the White House.

Prodding the Saudis and other Muslim countries to play a larger role in combating radical Islam and the threat of Iran is a top priority on Mr. Trump’s first trip abroad as commander in chief.

He’ll also make the case at a dinner Sunday with 50 leaders form Muslim countries.

“This package demonstrates, in the clearest terms possible, the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia and our Gulf partners, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region, and supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S. defense industrial base,” the White House said in a statement.

The agreements signed included a joint vision statement, defense cooperation agreements for an immediate $110 billion deal and intent for another $350 billion in arms over 10 years.

The leaders also signed agreements for investments in both countries, including for U.S. companies building infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic advisor, told reporters in Riyadh that the private sector agreements were about investing “a lot of money in the U.S. and have a lot of U.S. companies invest and build things over here.”

“They’re going to hire U.S. companies,” he said. “A lot of money. Big dollars. Big dollars.”

Mr. Trump will spend two days in Saudi Arabia before heading to Israel and then Vatican City. He will then attend a NATO leaders summit in Brussels and a G7 meeting in Sicily.


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