Pentagon to seek approval for $60bn Saudi arms deal

MILITARY DEAL: The Saudi deal with the US has been in negotiations for a number of months.

The US Defense Department is seeking approval from Congress for a $60bn weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, which will be the largest single US arms deal ever, it was reported on Monday.

The Saudi deal with the US has been in negotiations for a number of months, but it is expected the US Congress will approve the sale, according to a report by the Arab News daily newspaper.

A Pentagon spokesman added that the deal was expected within a week. However, officials confirmed an earlier Wall Street Journal report that some key US lawmakers were likely to move to block the sale when it is eventually formally announced.

"You can fully expect that a hold will be placed on this deal. There is serious concern about some sensitive material which is expected to be included in the deal," Congressional sources were quoted as saying.

Any opposition to the sale will mean the deal will need to be signed off by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee or Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which could lead to changes to the details of the deal, the reports added.

The Wall Street Journal said the $60bn sale does not include potential naval and missile-defense upgrades, which could be worth a further tens of billions of dollars.

US Air Force Secretary Michael Donley refused to confirm the arms sale but acknowledged that discussions have been under way on US hardware for Saudi's air force, the report added.