Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Visits USA, UK

08.01.2020 North America
Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Visits USA, UK

Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Visits USA, UK

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Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense, and his accompanying delegation arrived in the United States of America on a state visit on Monday.

Upon arrival, Prince Khalid was received by Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Ambassador to the United States of America; Chief of the General Staff General Fayyadh bin Hamid Al-Ruwaili and a number of civil and military officials.

Prince Khalid bin Salman held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and later with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (photo), the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

In a tweet on Tuesday, he said he discussed with Pompeo events in the region, along with efforts to maintain regional and international peace and stability, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

The meeting comes after the killing of a top Iranian Military Commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone strike on Friday at Baghdad airport that has sparked a major escalation of regional tensions.

The U.S. State Department officials said talks focused on how to de-escalate tensions in the region and prevent a military confrontation in the Gulf.

They emphasized resorting to diplomatic means with the international community to clarify the dangers of the eruption of another war in the region in wake of Soleimani’s killing.

Prince Khalid and Pompeo also addressed American military plans to secure American Embassies and interests in the region.

Prince Khalid stressed Saudi Arabia’s call for restraint and avoiding tensions, thwarting any provocative measures that Tehran may take against the Kingdom and also urging Iran to cease its meddling in the affairs of regional countries.

Discussions also covered the developments in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Talks with Esper focused on mutual challenges faced by Saudi Arabia and the US, tweeted Prince Khalid.

He also emphasized the importance of both countries’ ongoing military cooperation as it serves regional and international security.

Prince Khalid is expected to head to the United Kingdom next.

Meanwhile, the US Air Force (USAF) launched 52 F-35s on Monday in rapid succession in a show of military might as part of an exercise out of its Hill Air Force Base to test combat readiness to deploy fighter jets en mass.

The exercise has been planned for months to test the capabilities in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, and flight operations, according to a statement posted on the USAF 388th Fighter Wing’s Facebook page.

“The exercise, which was planned for months, demonstrated their ability to employ a large force of F-35As – testing readiness in the areas of personnel accountability, aircraft generation, ground operations, flight operations, and combat capability against air and ground targets,” the statement read.

The fighter wings also performed an “elephant walk” before the launch of the jets, a USAF term for the taxiing of military aircraft right before takeoff.


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