Saudi Arabia, Britain in talks on arms deal
LONDON: Britain has held secret talks with Saudi Arabia to try to secure an arms deal worth up to 40 billion pounds ($71 billion), the Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has visited the kingdom to urge the Crown Prince Sultan to buy the Eurofighter Typhoon jet, according to the report, which cited unnamed diplomatic sources.
A spokeswoman at Blair’s Downing Street office had no immediate comment. No one could be reached at Britain’s defence ministry. The Guardian said Blair visited Saudi Arabia on July 2 for talks on the way to Singapore, where Britain was bidding for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
His Defence Secretary John Reid visited the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to pursue a deal three weeks later, according to the report. The planes are built by Britain’s BAE Systems, Airbus parent EADS and Alenia Aeronautica, part of Italy’s Finmeccanica. reuters