Saudi king approves hosting of United States armed forces

The decision aims "to increase joint cooperation in the defense of regional security and stability and to preserve its peace", said the official, affirming that the kingdom calls for peace and not war.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia has approved hosting the US armed forces in the kingdom, Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

The tension in the Gulf region is escalating along with US-Iran conflicts about Iran's nuclear activities.

The troops would be entering a region already heavily saturated with over 70,000 United States military personnel. "It's not usually a tenable avenue to getting security", Sputnik had quoted Zarif as saying.

Senior American defence officials said some United States troops and Patriot air defence missile systems have already arrived at Prince Sultan Air Base, south of Riyadh, where the troops have been preparing for the arrival of aircraft later this summer as well as additional troops.

"In coordination with and at the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Secretary of Defence has authorized the movement of US personnel and resources to deploy to Saudi Arabia", the US Central Command of the Department of Defence announced in a statement.

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The Pentagon confirmed it has authorized movement of USA troops and resources to Saudi Arabia in a statement issued later that day, validating the ongoing rumors and reports of a buildup of United States forces in the country and neighboring Qatar, deployed to "counter the Iran threat". The Pentagon did not say where the troops would be deployed at the time.

The US announcement of the deployment was expected to be made next week, according to CNN.

The gesture comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran in the Gulf that have impacted global oil markets.

Relations between Washington and Tehran worsened past year when US President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

The incidents came as US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that a US Navy ship had "destroyed" an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the vessel, a claim Iran promptly denied.

US soldiers part of the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) walks, as a US Chinook helicopter is seen on the back ground near the place where the foundation of a hospital was laid in Shindand, Herat, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012.

  • Sonia Alvarado