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State Dept. approves $300M bomb sale to Saudi Arabia

State Dept. approves $300M bomb sale to Saudi Arabia
The Trump administration on Tuesday approved the sale of 3,000 Boeing-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I Munitions to Saudi Arabia. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The Trump administration on Tuesday approved a possible $300 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

The State Department's Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced it has approved the sale of 3,000 Boeing-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I Munitions and related equipment to the ally Middle Eastern country for $290 million.

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"This proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East," the statement said, adding "there will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale."

The State Department said the munitions will increase Saudi Arabia's stock of long-range, precision air-to-ground munitions that will improve the nation's "capability to meet current and future threats."

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President Donald Trump has sought to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia as the kingdom implements new domestic and foreign policies, and last year he deployed additional troops and military equipment to the country amid an increase in attacks the United States blamed on Iran that targeted the kingdom, according to the Congressional Research Service.

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In October, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States plans to sell arms to Saudi Arabia to combat Iranian aggression in the region.

Last week, The Washington Post, Bloomberg and The Hill reported citing unnamed sources that State Department officials have notified Congress of its intent to sell Saudi Arabia 7,500 Paveway air-to-ground so-called smart bombs for nearly $500 billion.

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But the Trump administration has received push back for dealing with Saudi Arabia, particularly following the 2018 brutal death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

The Trump administration on Tuesday also approved a possible arms deal with Egypt worth $104 million and two possible deals worth $4.2 billion with Kuwait.

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