ABC News(NEW YORK) — President Trump signed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia on the initial day of his first foreign trip since taking office.
The agreement commits Saudi Arabia to buying military equipment from U.S. and to hiring American companies to build such equipment in Saudi Arabia, according to Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic adviser. The New York Times reported that equipment discussed during negotiations included planes, ships, precision-guided bombs and an anti-ballistic radar system.
Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner personally called the president of Lockheed Martin, a major supplier of U.S. military equipment, in order to negotiate a lower price for the radar system, according to the Times.
The Trump administration has been working to finalize the deal over the past several months. White House press secretary Sean Spicer called the deal “huge news for US companies and American workers who will benefit” in a tweet on Saturday morning.
“This package of defense equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats, while also bolstering the Kingdom’s ability to contribute to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on the U.S. military to conduct those operations,” said a White House official.
The official added that in addition to demonstrating the U.S. commitment to Saudi Arabia “and our Gulf partners,” it also expands “opportunities for American companies in the region, and supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the U.S. defense industrial base.”
Lockheed Martin President Marillyn Hewson praised the deal as one that will bolster the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and “strengthen the cause of peace in the region.”
“At Lockheed Martin, we are proud to be part of this historic announcement that will strengthen the relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Hewson said in a statement. “We are especially proud of how our broad portfolio of advanced global security products and technologies will enhance national security in Saudi Arabia, strengthen the cause of peace in the region, and provide the foundation for job creation and economic prosperity in the U.S. and in the Kingdom.”
The arms deal includes military sales to Saudi Arabia of $110 billion immediately and $350 billion total over the next decade, according to the White House official. The two countries also agreed to a joint vision statement, private-sector agreements and defense cooperation agreements.
Trump’s first overseas trip since the election also includes planned stops at the Vatican and Israel.
The president’s trip comes as controversy swirls in the U.S. around the investigation into potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government, which could distract from the president’s diplomatic mission.
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