16:08 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan listens, Wednesday May 1, 2019, during a House Appropriations subcommittee on budget hearing

    US Sells Arms to Saudis to Prevent Russia, China From Filling Void - Shanahan

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is committed to providing Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with arms as part of an effort to prevent China or Russia from filling the gap, US Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan told reporters during a meeting with his Georgian counterpart.

    "The situation with both Saudi Arabia and UAE is: How do we provide them the Foreign Military Sales to defend themselves? And really the heart of all this is being responsive in this high threat environment; and then secondarily, if they don't buy from the US, of which we're a very strong partner, then they for security reasons need to go to either China or Russia," Shanahan said on Tuesday.

    Last week, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said in a press release that its members will introduce 22 separate resolutions to block the Trump administration's arms deal with Saudi Arabia - and with the UAE - as well as reaffirm Congress' role of approving arms sales to foreign governments.

    The senators said the manner in which the Trump administration has moved forward with the arms sales is unprecedented and at odds with longstanding practice and cooperation between Congress and the executive branch.

    The United States has an $8.1 billion arms package concluded with Saudi Arabia that includes 120,000 precision-guided bombs, support for Saudi F-15 fighter jets, mortars, anti-tank missiles and .50-caliber rifles.

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