Jun. 12, 2013 – Defense News (AFP)
RIYADH — British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond discussed strengthening military and security ties with Saudi Arabia with top defense officials in the kingdom on Wednesday, the state-run SPA news agency reported.
Hammond met Crown Prince and Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz in the port city of Jeddah, and they discussed ways to bolster cooperation as well as regional and international developments, SPA said.
He later met National Guard Minister Prince Mitab, it reported.
No more details were provided on Hague’s visit, but Britain is trying to boost arms sales to oil-rich Gulf Arab states, key allies in a region facing instability from the violence in Syria and the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program.
In December, British defense group BAE Systems said discussions would continue on an agreement to sell fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.
BAE had warned that the lucrative deal was facing unresolved “issues” five years after the agreement was struck between the two sides.
Both sides signed a £4.5 billion (US $7.3-billion) deal in 2007 to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes to Riyadh.