By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - Saudi Arabia has paid the U.S. roughly $500 million in compensation for the costs associated with stationing American forces in the Kingdom, according to a report.
The payment was made in December, an anonymous U.S. official told CNN.
If true, it stands in stark contract to U.S. President Donald Trump's claim while speaking to Fox News last week that Riyadh "already deposited $1 billion in the bank" in return for the troop deployment.
The Pentagon has yet to officially confirm the dollar amount of Saudi Arabia's payment, or if one has indeed been made. But CNN reported that bilateral negotiations are continuing between the allies to determine what the Kingdom will be paying for. Those talks include the establishment of a payment mechanism to cover deployment costs.
The U.S. has sent thousands more troops and missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia as tensions have escalated in region with Iran, including an attack Washington blames on Iran which took offline major portions of Riyadh's oil exports.
Saudi Arabia has only partially repaid the costs associated with the U.S.'s aerial refueling operations it conducted to supported the Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The U.S. mission was halted in November 2018 amid rights concerns, and the U.S. said the following month that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates owed over $330 million in associated costs.