U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
February 19, 2020
“The United States has an important partner in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They keep Americans safe by being our partner, and for providing the capacity for us to push back against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” – Secretary Michael R. Pompeo, December 9, 2019
Secretary Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia from February 19-21 to meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, and other Saudi officials to advance our long-standing shared interests, including the stability and security of the Gulf region, as well as economic prosperity and energy security.
OUR PARTNERSHIP ANCHORS PEACE AND STABILITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
- February 14 marked the 75th anniversary of the meeting between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with King Abdulaziz aboard the USS Quincy in 1945. We have maintained close diplomatic, military, and economic ties ever since.
- The U.S.-Saudi partnership is a critical bulwark for peace and stability in the Middle East, especially in the face of Iranian aggression in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. Saudi Arabia helps to ensure the stability of global energy markets and participates in multi-nation task forces working to protect freedom of navigation across critical Gulf trade routes.
- The United States is committed to building Saudi Arabia’s capacity through programs like Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and combined military exercises to strengthen interoperability with U.S. forces. Saudi Arabia’s FMS portfolio, with a total program value of $129 billion, spans all security sectors.
U.S.-SAUDI ECONOMIC TIES ADVANCE PROSPERITY IN BOTH OF OUR NATIONS
- The United States and Saudi Arabia enjoy strong economic ties. U.S. companies operate across the country. Saudi Arabia is the fifth largest export market for U.S. automobiles, as well as a lucrative market for U.S. airplanes. U.S. exports to Saudi Arabia support more than 165,000 American jobs.
- The United States and Saudi Arabia’s extensive commercial ties in the energy sector originated in 1933, when Standard Oil of California started drilling for oil in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.
- Saudi companies continue to increase investment in the United States, including Saudi Aramco’s ownership of the Motiva Port Arthur facility in Texas – the largest refinery in North America.
- Numerous American companies are partnering with Saudi Arabia in its Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy. The largest Six Flags amusement park in the world is slated for construction just outside of Riyadh, AMC is opening 50 new theaters across the country and premiered the first movie in Saudi Arabia in 35 years in April 2018, and U.S. firms are leading the construction of Riyadh’s new metro.
THE U.S. AND SAUDI ARABIA ENJOY ROBUST CULTURAL AND EDUCATION TIES
- More than 250,000 Saudi citizens and family members received visas to study in the United States in the last ten years. The United States also provides promising youth and current Saudi leaders the opportunity to experience the best of the United States through our International Visitor Leadership Program and various other exchange programs.
- The U.S.-Saudi partnership is rooted in more than seven decades of close friendship and cooperation, enriched by the exchange opportunities that are key to the promotion of mutual understanding and the long-term development of ties.
- Roughly 3,000 Saudi Arabian alumni of State Department programs have gained skills and firsthand knowledge of America, then returned home to engage their own communities in activities that advance entrepreneurship, empower women and youth, reach underserved populations, and work to improve education.
- Upon request, the United States provides technical support to ministries in the Kingdom, particularly in areas of education, trade, and good governance.