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United States is expected to lift ban on offensive weapons sale to saudi arabia: FT

The United States is expected to lift its ban on the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks, according to a report by the Financial Times on Sunday.

After taking office in 2021, President Biden adopted a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia’s campaign against the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen, which has reportedly caused significant civilian casualties. He also criticized Riyadh’s human rights record.

As the largest purchaser of US arms, Saudi Arabia has been frustrated by these restrictions, which halted weapons sales that previous US administrations had permitted for decades.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the US and Saudi Arabia are close to finalizing agreements on nuclear energy, security, and defense cooperation, as part of a broader normalization deal involving Riyadh and Israel.

However, lifting the ban on offensive weapons sales is not directly connected to these negotiations.

Earlier,

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.

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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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