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NAVCENT Commander Meets with Saudi Arabian, Yemeni Leaders

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | December 26, 2020

Vice Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Dec. 21 and 23, to meet with Saudi and Yemeni military officials.

On Dec. 21, Paparo met with Gen. Fayyadh Hamed Al Ruwaili, Chief of the General Staff ; Vice Adm. Fahad Abdullah Al-Ghofaily, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) Commander, who served as the Deputy Commander of the 2019 International Maritime Exercise, the second largest maritime exercise in the world; and Maj. Gen. Abdullah bin Ibrahim al Ghamdi, Deputy Joint Force Commander.

The leaders reaffirmed the defense relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States, and discussed the importance of CMF and the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC).

Paparo also spoke with Maj. Gen. Khaled Ali Mohammed Saleh Al-Qomali, Yemen Coast Guard Chairman, to discuss mutual commitment to counter smuggling and long-term stability in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

On Dec. 23, Paparo attended the inauguration ceremony of the new MH-60R helicopters into the RSNF fleet, followed by a tour of the East Fleet Headquarters in Jubail, led by Al-Ghofaily and Rear Adm. Ahmed Al Buraikan, Deputy East Fleet Commander.

“We congratulate the RSNF on the success of establishing their MH-60R program, a testament to the strong relationship between our two navies,” said Paparo. “As partner nations with common goals, we are deeply committed to building upon our close collaboration and cooperation through increased intelligence sharing and bilateral and multilateral exercises.”