UK, Saudi Arabia sign $2bn deals as Crown Prince ends trip

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with British prime minister Theresa May on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street in London. Leon Neal  Getty Images

Britain and Saudi Arabia have discussed co-investing in developing a next-generation fighter jet and drone, as part of a £5bn Typhoon deal.

In a statement confirming the news, BAE Systems said: "This is a positive step towards agreeing a contract for our valued partner".

BAE Systems added in a statement that the order would help Riyadh modernise its armed forces under the kingdom's "Vision 2030" economic plan, while no financial details were given.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, at the end of the latter's state visit to London, agreed that the Lebanese government should be supported in extending its control over Lebanese territory, and stated that it was important to "disarm the Hezbollah militia and confront its destabilizing role".

Prior to his trip to the United Kingdom, the Crown Prince had traveled to Egypt on a three-day visit.

In what his office described as a "cordial and honest conversation", the archbishop also voiced his concern over the Saudi-led military action in Yemen, which has been the cause of protests during the crown prince's British visit.

"If agreed, this shameful deal will be celebrated in the palaces of Riyadh and by the arms companies who will profit from it, but it will mean even greater destruction for the people of Yemen", said Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade.

The multi billion-pound deal has been under discussion for years, with the news of its possible completion coming on the final day of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to the UK.

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

It is the primary quick reaction and expeditionary aircraft of the UK, Spain, Germany and Italy.

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