US approves $1.29 billion sale of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia

By REUTERS
November 17, 2015 04:32
1 minute read.

 
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The US State Department has approved the sale of $1.29 billion in smart bombs and other weapons to Saudi Arabia to help replenish supplies used in its battle against insurgents in Yemen and air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, the Pentagon said on Monday.

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which facilitates foreign arms sales, notified lawmakers on Friday that the sales had been approved, it said in a statement.

The lawmakers now have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are carefully vetted before any formal notification.

The sales reflect President Barack Obama's pledge to bolster US military support for Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council after his administration brokered a nuclear deal with their Shi'ite Muslim rival Iran.

The agency said the sale would help the Royal Saudi Air Force's (RSAF) replenish weapons supplies that are becoming depleted due to high demand for multiple operations, while providing reserves for future missions.

"This acquisition will help sustain strong military-to-military relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia, improve (the ability of Saudi forces to work) with the United States, and enable Saudi Arabia to meet regional threats and safeguard the world's largest oil reserves," it said.

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