Saudi and UK Ministers progress talks on new strategic partnership during meetings at the World Defense Show (WDS24) in Riyadh.
News Release, Whitehall, 05 February 2024: The defence relationship between the UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has deepened, after the Defence Secretary and Minister for Defence Procurement met their counterparts in Riyadh, where they agreed to progress work on creating a partnership to develop advanced new capabilities.
Alongside bilateral meetings at the World Defence Show, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, met their counterparts, His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud and His Excellency Talal Al-Otaibi, to discuss ways in which both countries could combine industry expertise and capabilities.
Further bilateral engagement will continue to build on our strategic defence partnership through equipment collaboration, the exchange of ideas, joint training and doctrine, industrialisation, and human capital development.
Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps said: “In an increasingly contested world, where we can no longer rely on a peace dividend and must be prepared to respond to growing threats, reinforcing our key defence relationships with allies and partners is more important than ever.
“The UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia share a decades-long defence partnership, founded in mutual security interest, reliable UK support, and longstanding industrial collaboration.
“We will continue working to build our relationship even further, strengthening and deepening our collaboration for the future.”
A particular focus for planned collaboration will be land-based systems including air defence capabilities and armoured vehicles, and uncrewed aerial systems along with complex weapons including precision-guided missiles. This would be achieved through the creation of a Strategic Capability Partnership Committee, with a focus on developing cooperation in equipment and industry, research and development, and training.
Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, said: “This is a significant moment as we work towards laying a foundation for closer collaboration between the UK and Saudi Arabia, drawing on the expertise of our defence industries.
“Strengthening our relationship in the long term will invigorate the UK defence industry, and allow us to go even further in building the advanced new capabilities which will keep us safe from the threats of the future.”
The UK and KSA share a decades-long defence partnership, founded in mutual security interest, reliable UK support and longstanding industrial collaboration.
The visit provided an opportunity for the Defence Secretary to hold bilateral meetings with his counterpart, and to reaffirm the relationship between both countries.