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Bush administration tells Congress of arms sale to Saudis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration said on Monday it had notified Congress of plans to sell Saudi Arabia bomb-guidance kits as part of a multi-billion-dollar package of advanced arms to Gulf Arab states that officials see as countering growing Iranian military clout.

“The administration today initiated the formal 30-day congressional notification process for the proposed sale of 900 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, the acronym is JDAMs, to Saudi Arabia,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

The value of the JDAMs is about $120 million, he said. This is part of an overall package of arms proposed to be sold to Gulf states. The deals announced so far amount to about $11.5 billion, said McCormack.

The announcement came as President Bush was visiting Saudi Arabia as part of a Middle East tour.

The official announcement kicks off a 30-day review period during which U.S. lawmakers could move to block the sale. A number of lawmakers have vowed to try and stop it.

The bomb-guidance kits proposed to be sold to Saudi Arabia are built by Boeing Co and turn unguided bombs into precision munitions with built-in satellite and motion-sensing navigation systems.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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