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Monday 5th November 2012 | 00:01
Number 10 press release
The Prime Minister will use a 3 day visit to the Arabian Gulf and Middle East this week to help Britain compete and thrive in the global race.
The Prime Minister will visit the United Arab Emirates on Monday before travelling on to Saudi Arabia – a G20 member – on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister has already visited both countries since taking office and the fact that these are two of the few countries he is now returning to signals the PM's commitment to cementing long term partnerships with two of Britain’s most important strategic allies in the Gulf. It follows a sustained Government effort to build a reinvigorated partnership with countries in this region through the Gulf Initiative that was initiated in 2010 after a period of neglect.
This strategic partnership is focused on delivering security, prosperity and openness in the region. A central pillar is our defence relationship with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia given our shared commitment to security and stability and defeating the threats we face in the wider Middle East region.
On this visit, the Prime Minister hopes to begin the next chapter in our relationship, establishing a truly strategic defence partnership. This presents an opportunity to significantly boost the British defence industry - worth £5.4 billion in annual exports and sustaining 54,000 jobs – and the Prime Minister will use to the trip to specifically promote the Typhoon fast jet to Gulf leaders.
The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman have all expressed an interest in purchasing Typhoons and the Government is aiming to secure sales of over 100 aircraft to the region in the coming year, deals that together would be directly worth over £6 billion to British firms with additional benefits through supply chain work.
Oman is already in negotiations with BAE Systems for 12 fast jets with the contract due to be signed before the end of the year. And the Saudis have signalled that they are interested in placing a second substantial order, on top of the 72 jets they have already acquired.
On the back of this success, the Government is now encouraging the United Arab Emirates to choose Typhoon as they seek to replace their current fleet of French Mirage jets. The Emiratis have shown interest in placing an order for up to 60 jets and the Prime Minister will fly straight into a military airbase near Dubai where he will accompany the Deputy Chief of Staff the UAE Armed Forces and the Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to inspect the Typhoons with RAF pilots on hand to share their experiences of flying one of the best fast jets in the world. The Government is currently working with the companies involved in the construction of Typhoons to ensure that the fast jets are kitted out with the latest targeting technology to increase the prospect of boosting their export sales.
The sale of Typhoon to UAE is just one element of a much more concerted effort to establish a long term strategic defence partnership with the United Arab Emirates as both countries stand together to combat many of the threats to the security of the wider Middle East region. And the Prime Minister will discuss with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Prime Minister of UAE how best to develop a strategic air defence relationship, specifically potential collaboration on the development of the next-generation of military aerospace equipment. Such joint co-operation would mark a new step in the Government’s development of defence equipment which has traditionally been with NATO allies and it signals the Government’s commit to a long term strategic partnership with the United Arab Emirates.
The Government hopes that a Typhoon deal with UAE could be just the start of a much wider industrial partnership between the 2 countries, with further business and investment partnerships centred around the aerospace, healthcare and education sectors. On Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister and Crown Prince will attend a business partnership event in Abu Dhabi where British and Emirati businesses will set out how they can work in partnership to deliver the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision - a Government roadmap to a diverse and sustainable economy as opposed to an oil-based economy.
British companies on show include:
* BAE Systems
* Selex Galileo
* Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
* Virgin Galactic
* UK Biobank
* BT Health
* Kings College Hospital
* Great Ormond Street Hospital
* Ordnance Survey
* The City UK
During his visit to the United Arab Emirates, the PM will also participate in a PM Direct event, engaging with hundreds of university students to hear their thoughts on both regional and global issues.
The PM visit reaffirms the Government's to renewing its partnership with the Arab World. We want to work together with the Gulf countries towards a future that is rich in prosperity, strong in defence and open in its handling and pursuit of political and economic reform.
After his visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the Prime Minister will travel on to the Middle East before returning to Downing St on Wednesday ahead of a meeting that evening with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.