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US reaffirms commitment to helping Saudi Arabia defend itself from external threats

At the Pentagon, senior US and Saudi officials also spoke about the US approach to China “as its pacing challenge.”

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The US has reaffirmed its commitment to helping Saudi Arabia defend itself from external threats, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The Pentagon statement was released after the US-Saudi Strategic Joint Planning Committee met this week in Washington.

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Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl led the US delegation, while Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid Bin Salman led the Saudi delegation.

Kahl and Prince Khalid reaffirmed the strength of the US-Saudi defense partnership, the Pentagon said. “Dr. Kahl affirmed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a strategic partner of the United States and underscored US commitment to supporting the Kingdom in defending itself against external threats.”

The two officials also spoke about the US approach to China “as its pacing challenge.” They also touched on the war in Yemen, maritime threats, and violent extremist organizations.

Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region were also a topic of discussion. The pair agreed to increase cooperation and work to counter the smuggling of illicit weapons to violent non-state groups in the Middle East.

The Pentagon said Kahl praised the transformation process at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense, “a top priority for Saudi Arabia and for the United States.”

Kahl also spoke of the need for the two countries to work together on advancing regional integrated air and missile defense. “Both sides agreed on the importance of continuing to advance the US-Saudi military cooperation through joint training, exercises, and strong desire to expand regional cooperation and security,” the Pentagon said.

Read more: US still considers Iran’s IRGC a terrorist group: State Department official

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