Saudi Arabia and UK sign military cooperation deal

Saudi Arabia and UK sign military cooperation deal
Saudi Arabia has tied up defence agreement with the UK, just days after Gulf rival Qatar purchased fighter jets from the London.
2 min read
20 September, 2017
Mohammad bin Salman [L] and Michael Fallon [R] discussed security in Jeddah on Tuesday [AFP]

Saudi Arabia and the UK have signed a military cooperation framework deal, Riyadh's state media said on Tuesday.

The deal comes just two days after Gulf rival Qatar agreed to purchase jet fighters from the European nation.

The agreement followed a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and visiting UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, the Saudi Press Agency said, without disclosing details of the agreement.

"During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations particularly the mechanism... joint coordination in the field of defence. They also discussed... efforts to combat terrorism," the SPA said.

For the UK, the agreement comes as part of the country's exploration of lucrative trade deals outside of Europe as it edges closer to officially leaving the European Union.

Trade deals with Riyadh, however, have brought the UK into "disrepute" - particularly its lucrative arms sales to the Arab kingdom.

Rights groups, including Amnesty International, have called on the UK to cease arms sales to Saudi Arabia due to alleged war crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Since 2015, Riyadh has racked up orders for more than 3.75 billion pounds ($5 billion) worth of UK defence equipment.

The UK's government has maintained that the sales are in line with international law.

The opposition Labour Party, however, recently banned Saudi Arabia from its annual conference in protest over the war in Yemen.