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United States and Saudi Arabia are close to sign a defence pact: White House

The United States and Saudi Arabia are nearing a final agreement on a bilateral defense pact, following significant progress in talks over the weekend, the White House announced.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby stated on Monday that the two nations are “closer than we’ve ever been” to finalizing a bilateral agreement that is now “near final.”

Over the weekend, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan engaged in discussions with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Saudi officials, making substantial headway, according to Kirby. A second US official confirmed, “We are very close to an understanding on the major elements between us.”

The official added, “We will also have to work on components related to the Israelis and Palestinians, which is crucial for any potential normalization deal.”

Kirby noted that the timing of a US-Saudi agreement remains uncertain. While President Biden aims for an eventual Palestinian state, the ongoing conflict in Gaza makes such a deal unlikely in the near future.

“The president remains committed to a two-state solution. He recognizes that achieving this is not something we are going to see anytime soon,” Kirby said.

US and Saudi negotiators are working to finalize a bilateral accord that would include formal US guarantees to defend Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom with access to more advanced US weaponry. In return, Saudi Arabia would halt Chinese arms purchases and limit Beijing’s investment in the country.

Negotiators have been discussing the sale of F-35 fighter jets and other advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia as part of the deal, a US official mentioned.

While the sale of F-35s to Saudi Arabia is not guaranteed, primarily due to Israel’s opposition, its inclusion in the talks is significant as Riyadh has long sought the stealth fighter jets.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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