US approves $1bn arms sales to KSA

The deals had been in the pipeline since President Donald Trump agreed more than $100 billion in contracts on a visit to Riyadh last year. (SPA)
Updated 25 March 2018

US approves $1bn arms sales to KSA

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has approved the possible sale to Saudi Arabia of TOW anti-tank missiles, part of a bigger $1 billion package that also includes helicopter maintenance and spare parts for military vehicles.
The department said it had notified the US Congress on Thursday of the possible sale, which kick-starts a formal congressional review process.
Saudi Arabia requested to buy 6,600 TOW missiles and an additional 96 for training for a total of $670 million, the State Department said in a statement.
The proposed sale would improve the security of an important ally in the Middle East, it added.
“The proposed sale of TOW 2B missiles and technical support will advance Saudi Arabia’s efforts to develop an integrated ground defense capability,” the department said.
In addition, the State Department said it had also approved the possible sale worth $300 million of parts for Saudi Arabia’s fleet of Abrams tanks and armored vehicles.
Furthermore, it also gave the green light for the proposed sale of equipment and services worth $106.8 million for Saudi Arabia’s fleet of military helicopters.
The announcements came days after US President Donald Trump hosted Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House, crediting US defense sales to the Saudis with boosting American jobs.
Earlier on Thursday, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told the crown prince there was an urgent need to find a political solution to Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen’s war.

Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 52 min 54 sec ago

Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.