Joint Statement of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia Strategic Dialogue

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is the text of a joint statement by the Governments of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Begin text:

The Governments of the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia held a meeting of the U.S.-Saudi Strategic Dialogue on October 14, 2020, in Washington, D.C.  Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and His Highness, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud co-chaired the Dialogue.  Building on decades of close partnership and previous strategic discussions and cooperation, the two countries highlighted the significance of this Strategic Dialogue, held 75 years after the historic meeting in 1945 between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz Al Saud aboard the U.S.S. Quincy, a meeting that laid the groundwork for the enduring strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

During the Dialogue, the United States and Saudi Arabia reviewed the extensive security, economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties that underpin their bilateral relationship.  Both sides reaffirmed their mutual dedication to countering and deterring the threat that Iranian malign activity poses to regional security and prosperity.  The United States recognized the Kingdom’s leadership within the Saudi-led Coalition and its commitment to end the Yemeni conflict through political negotiations.  The United States and Saudi Arabia stressed the importance of their close partnership in countering terrorism and the Kingdom’s key role in maintaining regional and international security, and the two countries reviewed mutual efforts to strengthen security in Iraq.

The United States recognized the significant strides that Saudi Arabia has made towards implementing Vision 2030 and ushering in major economic and social reforms, and its leadership of the G20 during its presidency year to support the global health and financial response to the COVID pandemic.  The United States welcomed the G20 Leaders’ Summit in November.  Both sides recognize progress remains essential on core issues of national interest and seek to continue to work closely towards this end through the Strategic Dialogue with an eye toward the future of the strategic relationship.

The United States and Saudi Arabia underscored their dedication to security and economic partnerships.  Both sides discussed the various aspects that constitute the cornerstones of our enduring strategic partnership and intend to continue the work to further strengthen and deepen the partnership for the benefit of both nations, and the region.  The discussions included:

  • Defense cooperation to deter and defend against common threats in the region.
  • Security and intelligence cooperation between the two countries, which has been instrumental in saving countless American and Saudi lives, and many others, in our continuing fight against terrorist and violent extremist groups, including Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force, as well as its proxies and partners.
  • Continued cooperation in the areas of critical infrastructure protection and public security, including under the bilateral Technical Cooperation Agreement.
  • Enhancing cooperation to promote resilient energy markets, especially in light of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Enhancing economic ties by expanding commercial opportunities, investing in infrastructure, and restoring international travel and transportation as part of the economic recovery.
  • The importance of using only trusted vendors in critical information and communications technology infrastructure.
  • Exploring new areas of cooperation in cybersecurity and other related areas, as well as strengthening cooperation in areas such as critical infrastructure protection.
  • Enhancing diplomatic, cultural and consular cooperation, including the major construction projects to expand the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the Kingdom, which will serve to expand the U.S. platform for diplomatic engagement with Saudi Arabia and signifies our enduring commitment to achieving our mutual security and economic objectives.

The United States and Saudi Arabia announced that they intend to continue the work of the Dialogue through the formation of bilateral working groups to strengthen cooperation.  These include:

  • A Security and Intelligence Partnership Working Group,
  • A Defense Cooperation Plan Working Group,
  • A Shared Economic and Energy Interests Working Group,
  • A Bilateral Education and Culture Cooperation Working Group, and,
  • A Cybersecurity Cooperation Working Group.

End text.

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    In fiscal year (FY) 2020, GAO's work yielded $77.6 billion in financial benefits, a return of about $114 for every dollar invested in GAO. We also identified 1,332 other benefits that led to improved services to the American people, strengthened public safety, and spurred program and operational improvements across the government. In March 2021, GAO reported on 36 areas designated as high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or because they face economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. In FY 2020 GAO's High Risk Series products resulted in 168 reports, 26 testimonies, $54.2 billion in financial benefits, and 606 other benefits. In this year of GAO's centennial, GAO's FY 2022 budget request seeks to lay the foundation for the next 100 years to help Congress improve the performance of government, ensure transparency, and save taxpayer dollars. GAO's fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget requests $744.3 million in appropriated funds and uses $50.0 million in offsets and supplemental appropriations. These resources will support 3,400 full-time equivalents (FTEs). We will continue our hiring focus on boosting our Science and Technology and appropriations law capacity. GAO will also maintain entry-level and intern positions to address succession planning and to fill other skill gaps. These efforts will help ensure that GAO recruits and retains a talented and diverse workforce to meet the priority needs of the Congress. In FY 2022, we will continue to support Congressional oversight across the wide array of government programs and operations. In particular, our science and technology (S&T) experts will continue to expand our focus on rapidly evolving (S&T) issues. Hallmarks of GAO's (S&T) work include: (1) conducting technology assessments at the request of the Congress; (2) providing technical assistance to Congress on science and technology matters; (3) continuing the development and use of technical guides to assess major federal acquisitions and technology programs in areas such as technology readiness, cost estimating, and schedule planning; and (4) supporting Congressional oversight of federal science programs. With our requested funding, GAO will also bolster capacity to review the challenges of complex and growing cyber security developments. In addition, GAO will continue robust analyses of factors behind rising health care costs, including costs associated with the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. Internally, the funding requested will make possible priority investments in our information technology that include the ability to execute transformative plans to protect data and systems. In FY 2022 GAO will continue to implement efforts to increase our flexibility to evolve IT services as our mission needs change, strengthen information security, increase IT agility, and maintain compliance. We will increase speed and scalability to deliver capabilities and services to the agency. This request will also help address building infrastructure, security requirements, as well as tackle long deferred maintenance, including installing equipment to help protect occupants from dangerous bacteria, viruses, and mold. As reported in our FY 2020 financial statements, GAO's backlog of deferred maintenance on its Headquarters Building had grown to over $82 million as of fiscal year-end. Background GAO's mission is to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. We provide nonpartisan, objective, and reliable information to Congress, federal agencies, and to the public, and recommend improvements across the full breadth and scope of the federal government's responsibilities. In fiscal year 2020. GAO issued 691 products, and 1,459 new recommendations. Congress used our work extensively to inform its decisions on key fiscal year 2020 and 2021 legislation. Since fiscal year 2000, GAO's work has resulted in over: $1.2 trillion dollars in financial benefits; and 25,328 program and operational benefits that helped to change laws, improve public services, and promote sound management throughout government. As GAO recognizes 100 years of non-partisan, fact-based service, we remain committed to providing program and technical expertise to support Congress in overseeing the executive branch; evaluating government programs, operations and spending priorities; and assessing information from outside parties. For more information, contact Gene L. Dodaro at (202) 512-5555 or dodarog@gao.gov.
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  • Joint Statement on the Ministerial Meeting on Syria
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Inaugural U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue
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  • Maryland Tax Preparer Indicted for Preparing False Returns
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Greenbelt, Maryland, returned an indictment today charging an Upper Marlboro tax return preparer with conspiracy to defraud the United States and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur.
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Martha Raddatz of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos
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  • Statement of Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on the Justice Department’s Implementation of the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy
    In Crime News
    Attorney General Merrick B. Garland made the following statement after the President’s signing of the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy:
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  • North Carolina Couple Indicted for Failing to Pay Employment Taxes and Failure to File Tax Returns
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Greensboro, North Carolina, returned an indictment today, charging a North Carolina couple with federal employment tax and individual income tax violations, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin for the Middle District of North Carolina. 
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  • NASA Space Laser Missions Map 16 Years of Ice Sheet Loss
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  • U.S. Law Enforcement Assists Brazilian Law Enforcement Takedown of Numerous Digital Piracy Sites and Apps Alleged to Have Caused Millions of Dollars in Losses to U.S. Media Companies
    In Crime News
    Seizure warrants have been executed against three domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works in support of a Brazilian-led takedown of digital piracy sites there, dubbed “Operation 404”.
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  • Florida Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Obstructing the IRS
    In Crime News
    A Florida man was sentenced to 36 months in prison today for corruptly obstructing the due administration of the internal revenue laws, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez for the Middle District of Florida.
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at a Joint Press Availability
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  • Third and Final Defendant Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    Today, Mohamed Haji, 28, of Lansing, Michigan, pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, aka ISIS. In January 2020, his co-defendants Muse Muse and Mohamud Muse pleaded guilty to the same offense.
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  • F-35 Sustainment: DOD Needs to Address Key Uncertainties as It Re-Designs the Aircraft’s Logistics System
    In U.S GAO News
    The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is integral to supporting F-35 aircraft operations and maintenance. However, F-35 personnel at 5 locations GAO visited for its March 2020 report cited several challenges. For example, users at all 5 locations we visited stated that electronic records of F-35 parts in ALIS are frequently incorrect, corrupt, or missing, resulting in the system signaling that an aircraft should be grounded in cases where personnel know that parts have been correctly installed and are safe for flight. At times, F-35 squadron leaders have decided to fly an aircraft when ALIS has signaled not to, thus assuming operational risk to meet mission requirements. GAO found that DOD had not (1) developed a performance-measurement process for ALIS to define how the system should perform or (2) determined how ALIS issues were affecting overall F-35 fleet readiness, which remains below warfighter requirements. DOD recognizes that ALIS needs improvement and plans to leverage ongoing re-design efforts to eventually replace ALIS with a new logistics system. However, as DOD embarks on this effort, it faces key technical and programmatic uncertainties (see figure). Uncertainties about the Future F-35 Logistics Information System These uncertainties are complicated and will require significant planning and coordination with the F-35 program office, military services, international partners, and the prime contractor. For example, GAO reported in March 2020 that DOD had not determined the roles of DOD and the prime contractor in future system development and management. DOD had also not made decisions about the extent to which the new system will be hosted in the cloud as opposed to onsite servers at the squadron level. More broadly, DOD has experienced significant challenges sustaining a growing F-35 fleet. GAO has made over 20 recommendations to address problems associated with ALIS, spare parts shortages, limited repair capabilities, and inadequate planning. DOD has an opportunity to re-imagine the F-35's logistics system and improve operations, but it must approach this planning deliberately and thoroughly. Continued attention to these challenges will help ensure that DOD can effectively sustain the F-35 and meet warfighter requirements. The F-35 Lightning II is DOD's most ambitious and costly weapon system in history, with total acquisition and sustainment costs for the three U.S. military services who fly the aircraft estimated at over $1.6 trillion. Central to F-35 sustainment is ALIS—a complex system that supports operations, mission planning, supply-chain management, maintenance, and other processes. A fully functional ALIS is critical to the more than 3,300 F-35 aircraft that the U.S. military services and foreign nations plan to purchase. Earlier this year, DOD stated that it intends to replace ALIS with a new logistics system. This statement highlights (1) current user challenges with ALIS and (2) key technical and programmatic uncertainties facing DOD as it re-designs the F-35's logistics system. This statement is largely based on GAO's March 2020 report on ALIS ( GAO-20-316 ), as well as previous F-35 sustainment work. GAO previously recommended that DOD develop a performance-measurement process for ALIS, track how ALIS is affecting F-35 fleet readiness, and develop a strategy for re-designing the F-35's logistics system. GAO also suggested that Congress consider requiring DOD to develop a performance-measurement process for its logistics system. DOD concurred with GAO's recommendations and is taking actions to address them. For more information, contact Diana C. Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or maurerd@gao.gov.
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  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Canadian Foreign Minister Garneau
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  • Daughter of Prolific Mexican Cartel Leader Pleads Guilty to Criminal Violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act
    In Crime News
    A dual U.S.-Mexican citizen pleaded guilty today to willfully engaging in financial dealings with Mexican companies that had been identified as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
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  • Six Language Recruiters Indicted for Recruiting Unqualified Linguists for Deployment with U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned an indictment Wednesday charging six former employees of a government contractor for their role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a U.S. government contract to recruit and deploy qualified linguists to Afghanistan where they would provide language services in Dari and Pashto to the U.S. military, including interacting with Afghan civilians and military forces.
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