Hagel: Defense Partnership Anchors U.S.-Saudi Relationship
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2013 On his inaugural trip to the Middle East since taking office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met here today with Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meets with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, the country’s deputy defense minister, for a welcoming tea ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2013. Hagel is on a six-day trip to the Middle East, where he is visiting counterparts in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
During their talks, Hagel and his Saudi counterpart reiterated the longstanding, steadfast relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and emphasized the strong defense partnership that anchors the two nations, Little added.
They also discussed the release of standoff weapons to Saudi Arabia that will provide strategic precision defensive capabilities to the Saudi F-15 fleet, Little said. Such smart weapons can navigate to their targets and are more precise and can be fired at further distances.
“Both agreed the release reflected the close bilateral partnership and would enable long-term cooperation in the pursuit of common security policy aims of a peaceful and stable region,” Little said. The two defense leaders also consulted on regional issues, including the need for Iran to abide to international commitments on its nuclear program, the situation in Syria, and the political transition in Yemen, he added.
Hagel’s trip to the Middle East, which began April 20 and will end April 26, began in Israel and Jordan and tomorrow will take the secretary to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to discuss common threats and interests in the region.