Typhoon jet agreement, strategic partnership wrap up Saudi crown prince’s visit to UK

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson at North Holt Air Base. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson at North Holt Air Base. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson at North Holt Air Base. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson at North Holt Air Base. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson at North Holt Air Base. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson at North Holt Air Base. (SPA)
Updated 03 April 2018
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Typhoon jet agreement, strategic partnership wrap up Saudi crown prince’s visit to UK

  • Under preliminary deal, BAE Systems will make 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets for KSA
  • Royal Saudi Air Force already has 72 Typhoon fighter jets in service
LONDON: Britain has signed a multi-billion-pound preliminary order with Saudi Arabia for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, military equipment maker BAE Systems said on Friday.
The joint statement issued at the end of the three-day visit, and published by the Saudi Press agency, indicated that both parties signed a letter of intent to supply Saudi Arabia with 48 new Typhoon fighter jets.
BAE Systems added in a statement sent to Arab News that the order would help Riyadh modernize its armed forces under the Kingdom’s ‘Vision 2030’ economic plan, while no financial details were given.
If confirmed the order will raise Saudi capabilities in the air and add 48 to the already 72 Typhoons in service with the Royal Saudi Airforce.
“The crown prince’s visit has opened a new chapter in our two countries’ historic relationship,” British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said. “We have taken a vital step toward finalizing another order for Typhoon jets that will increase security in the Middle East and boost British industry and jobs in our unrivalled aerospace sector,” he said.
The defense secretary was speaking after meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the third day of his visit. The two sides met at Northolt Air Base in north west London.
Upon arrival, Typhoon aircrafts soared in the skies to welcome the crown prince, who is also deputy prime minister and minister of defense.
Both national anthems were played and then they reviewed the Honor Guards’ Salute.
During the meeting, the pair discussed ways to develop bilateral relations and areas of strategic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the defense and military sectors.
They also discussed the wide-ranging opportunities in Saudi Arabia following the introduction of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as well as international and regional developments and efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.
Prior to his departure, the UK and Saudi  Arabia published a joint communique summarizing the agreements, understandings, and memorandum signed in the military, defense, economic, social and cultural sectors.
Mainly the statement stressed that the two Kingdoms are strategic partners in seeing through Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Vision 2030. The two sides committed to launching an annual strategic partnership council and dialogue between the two countries.
“The crown prince’s visit has opened a new chapter in our two countries’ historic relationship,” Williamson said.


Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

The Arab coalition is striving to rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, says Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani. File/Getty Images
Updated 26 May 2018
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Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

  • Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis
  • The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them

LONDON: There cannot be peace in Yemen unless Houthi militias abandon their arms, said the country’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani.

The internationally recognized government will not allow Iran, which backs the Houthis, to maintain a foothold in Yemen or interfere in its internal affairs, he added.
“This terrorist regime” in Tehran, “which supplies terrorist militias all over the world, is close to collapse as a result of international and popular pressure by the Iranian people, who are suffering as their terrorist state spends billions here and there for a foolish expansionist idea,” Al-Yamani said.
“The modern and civilized world that respects international law cannot accept the existence of a state sponsor of terrorism and all subversive and terrorist militias in the region,” he added.
“If Iran wants to be part of the social, cultural and political fabric of our region, it must rationalize its behavior.” Its “terrorist behavior… encourages the spread of violence in the region,” he said.
Al-Yamani added that he will start his tenure as foreign minister by focusing on negotiations and the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.
The government is working round the clock with the envoy’s office so he can present his ideas on June 7 after consultations with the government, Al-Yamani said.
There will be meetings in the next few days with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and a special meeting with the negotiating team, all within the framework of the envoy’s efforts in the region, Al-Yamani added.
Griffiths has visited several countries in the region, and has met with Yemen’s government and the leadership of the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
The Houthis “suggest that political arrangements should come before security and military arrangements,” said Al-Yamani.
But “the coup against the state in January 2015 came as a result of the preference of political over security arrangements,” he added.
“And after the Houthis achieved their goals, they turned against the national consensus reflected in the peace and partnership agreement, under which the president provided facilities to save the homeland from the fate we have reached today,” Al-Yamani said.
“We cannot talk about any political arrangements because we consider them to be a foregone conclusion if we achieve the withdrawal and delivery of heavy and medium weapons and missiles,” he added. “We cannot retry something we tried before... The coup must end.”
The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them,” he said. “Heavy and medium weapons should be handed over, and those militias must be withdrawn.”
Al-Yamani criticized Iran’s ambassador to the UN for speaking in dovish language while his country causes destruction in Yemen.
“Most of what we have been able to remove of the mines planted by the Houthis had the trademark of Iranian industry,” Al-Yamani said.
“Even if we achieve peace today, we will need decades to demine... There will be no possibility of safe living in the areas where mines were planted.”
Al-Yamani expressed the gratitude of his government and people for the Saudi-led coalition’s support for the government to achieve security and peace in Yemen and the whole region.
Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, rebuild the Yemeni psyche destroyed by the war, distribute goods throughout Yemen, and reconstruct what was destroyed by the Houthi war machine,” he said.
“All this confirms that the project of restoring the state… is the project of life,” which is “opposed to the project of death brought by Iran and its Houthi militias to Yemen,” he added.
This interview is simultaneously published in Asharq Al-Awsat.