World News

Mohammed bin Salman wraps up controversial visit to UK

Mohammed bin Salman wraps up controversial visit to UK

BAE, Europe's biggest defence contractor, has long awaited a major order for Typhoons from Saudi Arabia, and slowed production of the jet in 2016 to ensure it would remain competitive.

Defence company BAE Systems PLC said Friday the United Kingdom government has signed a preliminary agreement with Saudi Arabia to finalise the sale of 48 Typhoon fighter jets.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Friday, military equipment maker BAE Systems said it signed the preliminary order from Saudi for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, without providing any financial details.

Chief executive officer Charles Woodburn said: "We are committed to supporting the kingdom as it modernises the Saudi armed forces and develops key industrial capabilities".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May greets Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman outside 10 Downing Street in London on March 7, 2018.

And the Crown Prince said both countries are "much safer if you have a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia".




Despite an unusual advertising blitz that saw adverts promoting Prince Mohammed and Saudi Arabia appear in national newspapers and on taxis and electronic billboards across London, the visit was knocked from the British front pages by the poisoning of a Russian double agent.

But there have been protests because of Saudi Arabia's military intervention in Yemen.

Prime Minister May defended the two countries' defence ties on Wednesday, saying all arms sales were strictly regulated.

The visit also brought agreement on an estimated £65bn worth of additional trade in the coming years as part of the Crown Prince's Vision 2030 economic plan.

In a cable to HM Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while wrapping up his UK visit, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed profound thanks and gratitude her for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to him and his accompanying delegation.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is the most important combat aircraft in BAE Systems' portfolio, accounting for almost a third of the unit's sales in 2016.


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