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By News Desk - December 14 2022

Saudi Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman surrounded by the Royal Cavalry Guard in London on 13 December 2022. (Photo Credit: Saudi State Media via SPA)

The Saudi Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman met with his British counterpart Ben Wallace on 13 December, during an official visit to the United Kingdom aimed at advancing military cooperation between both states.

Bin Salman was welcomed at the Royal Cavalry Guard Square in London in an official ceremony held in his honor along with the accompanying delegation.

According to a readout by the British government, Wallace applauded the historic cooperation between the two, and stressed the joint vision for stability and cooperation in West Asia.

During the visit, the defense ministers signed a plan for cooperation in various defense projects, and the enhancement of bilateral defense and security cooperation to cope with the shared challenges.

“It is a pleasure to sign this Plan for Defense Cooperation, bringing us even closer to one of our most important partners,” said Wallace in his address to Bin Salman.

He added, “it’s a key milestone between our two nations, as we look to enhance our defense partnership further in support of mutual and regional security.”

Moreover, the memorandum tackled ways to enhance regular dialogue and consultation, as well as share education and training to build up the capabilities of the Saudi Armed Forces.

The ceremony was intended to showcase the UK’s commitment to Saudi Arabia’s stability and its unwavering support of its armed forces.

According to the online news website Saudi Gazette, the signature ceremony was attended by the Saudi Army Chief of Staff, Fayyadh al-Ruwaili, and his British counterpart for air force affairs, Michael Wigston.

Both states’ ambassadors and military attachés were present, alongside civilian officials and accompanying staff.

Later the same day, Bin Salman visited the headquarters of UK arms manufacturer giant BAE systems and was received by Wigston and the company’s CEO Charles Woodburn.

Al-Arabiya reported that the Saudi defense minister was given a tour of the Typhoon aircraft factory and briefed on the fourth-generation fighter’s combat systems and capabilities.

Additionally, the British and Saudi delegations discussed ways to advance the partnership between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia, which has completed its Golden Jubilee.

Saudi Arabia has operated a sizeable fleet of the multinational Typhoon aircraft since the late 2000’s, after a multi-billion dollar deal in 2007 to purchase 72 Eurofighter Typhoons.

Another 48 of these aircraft were allegedly ordered in 2018 during the visit of then-minister of defense Mohammed Bin Salman (MbS), according to Asian Military Review.

MbS was later promoted to the position of premiership on 27 September, and assigned his brother Khalid to lead the Ministry of Defense.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry finalized an agreement with Spanish-based company Navantia to build several combat ships for the Saudi Naval Forces.

The agreement was part of several multi-billion dollar arms purchases by the kingdom from European countries, in addition to a $30 billion defense and infrastructure deal with South Korea.

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