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US, Saudi agree arms deals worth almost $110 billion

Trump received by the Saudi King Salman

GE signs $15 bn of Saudi deals, MoUs during Trump visit

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | AFP | Washington has agreed arms deals with Saudi Arabia worth almost $110 billion, a White House official said Saturday, the first day of President Donald Trump’s visit to the traditional US ally.

“This package of defence equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats,” the official said.

It will also bolster the kingdom’s “ability to contribute to counter-terrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on the US military to conduct those operations,” the official added.

This announcement came hours after US conglomerate General Electric said it signed agreements and memorandums of understanding worth $15 billion with Saudi Arabia on Saturday during President Donald Trump’s visit to the oil-rich kingdom.

The Boston-headquartered firm said the agreements were inked in the presence of King Salman and Trump, who has chosen Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip since taking office in January.

“Almost $7 billion are GE technology and solutions — across multiple sectors and partners aimed at creating a truly diverse and sustainable economic platform,” a GE statement said.

It said that “collaboration” between GE and the ministry of energy, industry and mineral resources, as well as the National Industrial Cluster Development Program, “is expected to exceed $12 billion.”

This includes building an additional capacity to generate up to 12 gigawatts of power.

GE also signed an MoU with oil giant Saudi Aramco “to undertake a digital transformation of Aramco’s operations,” the statement said.

The MoU aims to generate $4 billion in annual productivity improvement, it added.

Riyadh has moved to diversify its traditionally oil-dependent economy following the sharp fall in crude prices in 2014.

Last year, it announced a “Vision 2030” plan aimed at developing its industrial and investment base and boosting small- and medium-sized businesses in a bid to create more jobs for Saudis and reduce reliance on oil revenue.

 

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