In an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia, U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper met with King Salman and the Saudi deputy defence minister. During the visit, responding to a question on the deployment of additional U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia, Secretary Esper told reporters that “there are three tasks here: first, help the Saudis defend themselves against Iran; secondly, deter Iranian bad behaviour; and third, hold up the international rules-based order”. He further added that “the fact that the Saudis are going to underwrite that is something that we expect of all of our partners and allies, whether it's Asia or Europe, is to help share the cost, share the burden of either housing, hosting our troops on their land or supporting them in deployments, whatever the case may be”. On Syria, responding to a question on the future of the U.S. forces withdrawn from Syria to Iraq, Secretary Esper stated that “eventually, their destination is home.”
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