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UK defense secretary holds talks with Saudi officials

UK delegation talks with top Saudi officials follows recent announcement of Muslim Brotherhood inquiry, BAE Systems-Saudi deal.

RIYADH - Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday received visiting British defence minister Philip Hammond and a UK delegation in Riyadh.

The meeting comes days after the UK government announced it was reviewing the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia and Egypt have recently designated as a "terrorist organisation". The inquiry is being led by the UK's Ambassador to the Kingdom, Sir John Jenkins. 

At Tuesday's meeting, the two top officials reportedly discussed bilateral cooperation and reviewed the latest regional and international developments, Saudi's state-run SPA news agency reported.

Hammond met later with Saudi National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdulaziz.

The visit also follows a February 20 announcement from British contractor BAE Systems that it had reached a new pricing agreement with Saudi Arabia for a deal struck in 2007 to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets. BAE gave no figures for the new value of the deal, which was originally put at £4.5bn. The costs had risen sharply with less than half of the planes delivered. 

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The agreement was a boost for BAE after the United Arab Emirates pulled out of talks with the British government to purchase Typhoon Eurofighters last December. BAE, hit by government cutbacks to military spending, is looking to push on after the 2012 collapse of a planned mega-merger with European aerospace giant EADS, now renamed Airbus Group.

BAE builds the Typhoon in cooperation with Airbus Group and Italian defence firm Finmeccanica.

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