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Public Papers - 1990 - September

Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Popadiuk on United States Military Assistance to Saudi Arabia

1990-09-21

The United States has a close and valued relationship with its longtime friend Saudi Arabia. It was in the spirit of this relationship that the United States responded favorably to King Fahd's request that we send troops to the Kingdom to deter and, if need be, help defend Saudi Arabia against an attack by Iraq.

Providing Saudi Arabia with improved ability to defend itself is another important element of this relationship. For more than a decade, the United States has made available to the Kingdom defense articles and services. Consistent with this policy and in response to the current threat, the administration recently provided Saudi Arabia equipment on an emergency basis.

Following consultations with the Saudi Government and the Congress, the administration has determined that it is in the interest of the United States to provide Saudi Arabia with additional means to protect itself. Following our consultation with Congress, we will provide this assistance in phases. The specific items to be provided in the first phase are still being determined and will encompass equipment and training requiring early action. This request will be sent to the Congress early next week. Those items that do not require expedited review will be submitted to the Congress early in the new year.

In both cases, we believe that it is essential that the United States be able and willing to provide the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces with the weapons and training it needs to deter and defend itself against aggression. Such support constitutes a key dimension of our overall strategy toward the Persian Gulf and could serve as well to protect American lives.

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