Saudis Agree To Share Security Costs

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Compared to the nearly $70 billion the Saudis spent for American troop deployment during the Gulf War, Saudi officials have now decided that $100 million more isn't too much to pay to relocate the troops. Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan Wednesday finally buckled to American pressure to split the $200 million cost of relocating 4,000 U.S. troops to another spot within the kingdom. U.S. officials have wanted to move the troops as a precaution against terrorism; their proposal came in response to last month's truck bombing at a Dhahran military complex that killed 19 Americans. It was the second of two such blasts since November. The first killed five Americans. The troops will be moved to an air base that already is used by American troops in Al Kharj, about 50 miles southeat of Riyadh. Prince Sultan initially had opposed the relocation proposal partly because of the cost and because he said security had already been achieved. While the Saudis agreed to help out this time, as they often have in the past, TIME's Dean Fischer reports that the U.S. may be pushing it a little too far. "The Saudis are getting tired of this," he says. "They have their own financial problems that are pretty severe." But Fischer adds that while U.S. troops continue to protect the Saudis, without any reprieve in the foreseeable future, "It seems only appropriate that they should split the bill." -->