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October 27, 2023

Readout of U.S.-Saudi Strategic Joint Planning Committee (SJPC), October 26, 2023

The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia convened the U.S.-Saudi Strategic Joint Planning Committee (SJPC) in Riyadh on October 26.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for International Security Affairs, Dr. Celeste Wallander chaired the U.S. delegation and Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense (AMOD), His Excellency Talal Otaibi served as the Saudi co-chair.

The SJPC serves as the preeminent bilateral strategic forum for senior U.S. and Saudi defense officials to discuss ongoing security concerns and military cooperation.  The SJPC aims to reinforce the strength of the U.S.-Saudi defense partnership, discuss shared threats in the region, and align on strategic objectives and priorities.

ASD Wallander and AMOD Otaibi reaffirmed a shared commitment to the strong and enduring strategic partnership.  Both leaders discussed the longstanding defense relationship as a bedrock for deterring regional threats, safeguarding maritime transportation, and ensuring the stability of Saudi Arabia and the region.

ASD Wallander underscored U.S. commitment to the defense of the Kingdom against external threats.  The two leaders raised respective national defense priorities, including discussion on the U.S. National Defense Strategy. ASD Wallander addressed the U.S. approach to the growing multi-domain threat posed by the People’s Republic of China, as well as Iran’s defense partnership with Russia.

Both leaders exchanged views on a range of security challenges throughout the region, including the security picture in Yemen and Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.  ASD Wallander expressed deep thanks for the Kingdom’s sustained support and coordination in working toward a durable peace for Yemen.

ASD Wallander reiterated the United States’ ironclad support for Israel in the wake of Hamas’ abhorrent terrorist attack and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to expediting security assistance, ensuring the protection of civilians, and preventing conflict escalation.

Both sides discussed the Saudi Ministry of Defense’s Transformation objectives as a top priority for both Saudi Arabia and for the United States.  The leaders agreed on the importance of continuing to advance the U.S.-Saudi military cooperation through joint training, exercises, and strong desire to expand regional cooperation and security.

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