Saudi Arabia will contribute $13.5 billion to help defray U.S. costs of the conflict with Iraq over Kuwait, Secretary of State James A. Baker III announced Saturday night.
Baker said the contribution is for the first three months of the year. It follows pledges in the past week of $13.5 billion from the overthrown Kuwait government and $9 billion from Japan.The contributions "clearly underscore the strength and determination of the coalition," Baker said, referring to the 31 nations who have united to try to force Iraq to relinquish Kuwait.
Baker says the Saudi pledge is the amount requested by the Bush administration. Pledges from other nations are expected, he added.
President Bush on Friday said he was "very pleased with the cooperation and participation from foreign countries" in financing the war. "The burden sharing is coming along pretty well."
Bush rushed U.S. troops to defend the Saudi oil fields after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August. Some members of Congress have questioned whether the Saudis had contributed enough in light of mounting profits from their oil production.
Last year, the Saudis contributed $3.65 billion in aid to nations such as Egypt and Syria that participated in Operation Desert Shield and $3 billion in U.S. support.