UK must wait for Typhoon jet order

08 November 2012

David Cameron’s visit was aimed at advancing arms deals and repairing political relationships in the region

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to the UAE is set to strengthen defence ties between the two countries, as tension over Iran’s alleged nuclear programme grow.

The main aim of Cameron’s trip was to encourage the sale of Typhoon fighter jets to the UAE in a deal worth £6bn (AED35bn). The closing of such a deal would give a significant boost to the UK’s defence industry and support 54,000 jobs in the country.

The trip did not result in a sale, but it did lead to a joint defence partnership being established, with pledges to “deepen ties” . The partnership would also involve “close collaboration” around the Typhoon jets.

The agreement could also go some way to repairing UK-UAE diplomatic ties. Relations between the two countries have been fraught following complaints from government officials about coverage by the UK media of an alleged crackdown on political activists in the UAE. There has also been concern in the country about perceived increased engagement between the UK and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cameron also visited Saudi Arabia to mend relations with the kingdom. Saudi officials had recently said they were “insulted” by a possible UK parliamentary investigation into Britain’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The visit will undoubtedly be heralded as a success and prevent further diplomatic tensions between the UK and the GCC, but the real test of the visit will be if it results in Typhoon sales.

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