U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has announced a proposed $13 billion military aid deal with Egypt and a $30 billion military package for Israel.Rice made the announcement in Washington before leaving Monday with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on a trip to the Middle East to seek support for stabilizing Iraq.
Rice said the military assistance deals with Egypt and Israel will be for a 10-year period. She also said the U.S. is forging new assistance agreements with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states.
Rice said the U.S. is seeking to support the forces of moderation to counter what she called the negative influences of Iran, Syria, al-Qaida, and Lebanon’s Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah.
Rice and Gates plan to visit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and then travel to Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh for talks with top officials.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said Sunday that Saudi leaders are “not doing all they can” to support U.S. policy on Iraq.
Rice will also separately visit Jerusalem and Ramallah for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials, while Gates holds talks in Gulf Arab countries.
Iran has condemned the proposed U.S. arms sales for Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. An Iranian spokesman accused Washington of spreading fear in the region.
American reports say the United States is planning to sell advanced weapons worth $20 billion to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states.