John Kerry
Secretary of State
Ministry of Defense
Muscat, Oman
May 22, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. I’m very honored to meet you finally and feel privileged to be here. I know you’ve been a very helpful and cooperative interlocutor with respect to many of our issues, and we’re very grateful to you for that.

As you know, I come from the state of Massachusetts, where I used to be a senator for many years. We have a great company there, which you are familiar with, called Raytheon, which I had the privilege of working with. And I wanted to come here to be able to thank you and to celebrate with you the Raytheon initiative for the $1.6 billion[1] ground-based air defense system, which Oman is going to put in place. And we’re very excited about that and very grateful for your confidence in Raytheon.

And I want to say to the members of the press, Mr. Minister, that President Obama and the United States are very grateful for the role that Oman plays in the region as an important force for peace and stability. And we appreciate your contributions to the defensive strategy for the region.

MINISTER BUSAIDI: (Via interpreter) Thank you, Mr. Secretary. We are – in fact, we have achieved a goal, talks about the (inaudible). And we understand that it’s the best and most effective system that is out there. And talks are underway at this point, and we’re in the technical stages, but we’re hoping to move to our final discussions and to sign the contract. We are in need of this defense system, which also relates to the defense strategy of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we appreciate that. And I know that the F-16s that you have, there’s an interoperability with respect to those that’s very beneficial.

[1] $2.1 billion

PRN: 2013/ T07-03