U.S. President Joe Biden said on Friday he was not traveling to Saudi Arabia's explicitly to meet de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman during a trip next month and said he was seeing the Saudi crown prince as part of a broader "international meeting," APA reports citing Reuters.
Biden's plans to see the crown prince, known as MBS, are part of his first trip to the Gulf region as president. He has been criticized by U.S. lawmaker, including some from his own Democratic party and human rights advocates, who say the visit is at odds with his promise to put human rights at the heart of U.S. foreign policy.
"Technology security reviews are a standard practice for the transfer of U.S. defense articles to all international partners. All cases are reviewed individually on their own merit. Through the established process, national security concerns are elevated to the appropriate approving authority," said Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough.
The decision on whether or not to continue with the deal is now being reviewed higher up the chain of command at the Pentagon, but the timing of any decision is uncertain, one of the people a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.