British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond gives a press point on June 4, 2013 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels
British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond gives a press point on June 4, 2013 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Hammond discussed strengthening military and security ties with Saudi Arabia with top defence officials in the kingdom on Wednesday, the state-run SPA news agency reported. © John Thys - AFP/File
British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond gives a press point on June 4, 2013 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels
AFP
Last updated: June 12, 2013

Britain and Saudi discuss military ties

British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond discussed strengthening military and security ties with Saudi Arabia with top defence officials in the kingdom on Wednesday, the state-run SPA news agency reported.

Hammond met Crown Prince and Defence 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 programme.

In December, British defence 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-pound ($7.3-billion, 5.5-billion-euro) deal in 2007 to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes to Riyadh.

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