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Kerry praises $2.1 billion Raytheon deal in Oman

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BRADLEY KLAPPER | May 22, 2013 03:43 AM EST | AP

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MUSCAT, Oman — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Wednesday with officials in Oman to discuss their plans to buy a $2.1 billion air defense system from American manufacturer Raytheon.

Kerry met with the Arab country's defense minister, a day after discussions with Oman's sultan.

Kerry thanked them for their decision to buy the ground-based air defense system from the Massachusetts company. "We're very excited about that and very grateful for your confidence in Raytheon," Kerry said.

He also said the U.S. is "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."

Omani Defense Minister Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi called Raytheon's system the most effective of its kind.

A joint statement issued by the U.S. and Oman said the system "offers high levels of effectiveness, capable of meeting the operational requirements of the Royal Air Force of Oman and providing seamless air protection by virtue of its cutting edge air defense technology." The statement said Oman is still in talks with Raytheon over some technical details.

The U.S. has pushed Persian Gulf countries to create an integrated defense network against the threat posed by Iran.