Iran General NewsRice defends 20 bln Saudi arms sale

Rice defends 20 bln Saudi arms sale

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AFP: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended a 20 billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, citing a brewing threat from Iran. WASHINGTON, Aug 5, 2007 (AFP) – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended a 20 billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, citing a brewing threat from Iran.

She rebuffed suggestions that Saudi Arabia has not done enough to support the US-backed government in Iraq, saying “I think we have good cooperation.”

“We want all states to do more. But it makes no sense to leave our longtime strategic ally undefended in a region in which Iranian and other challenges are brewing,” she said in an interview with Fox television.

Rice returned to the United States Friday from a Middle East trip that included talks with the Saudis in Jeddah on the situation in Iraq, US concerns about Iran, and Israeli-Palestinian issues.

The United States has put together an arms package worth at least 20 billion dollars over 10 years to defend Saudi Arabia against Iran, which Washington believes is working to acquire nuclear weapons.

Few specifics have been disclosed, but US officials say the package includes missile defense systems, early warning systems, air defense and air power, and naval systems for Saudi Arabia’s eastern fleet.

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