The UK and Saudi Arabia have reaffirmed their long-standing defence partnership, amid the deteriorating security situation in the Red Sea.

  • Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Defence was hosted in London to discuss shared defence and security priorities.
  • Maintaining regional security was reaffirmed as a shared priority.
  • Future collaboration work across land, sea and air also discussed.

Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps today hosted HRH Prince Khalid bin Salman, Minister for Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in London. The counterparts discussed the importance of our joint defence activities to strengthen security in the Middle East, with continued building on industrial partnerships covering land and maritime, as well as our Future Combat Air partnership.

Houthi attacks, including the use of ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial systems against global shipping, represent an increased threat to security in the Red Sea.

The UK has demonstrated its commitment to support regional security and stability through the deployment of HMS Diamond to the Red Sea to protect key global shipping lanes. On Saturday morning, HMS Diamond shot down a suspected attack drone which was targeting merchant shipping in the Red Sea.

Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps said:

The UK has been, and will continue to be, a critical defence partner of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we are jointly seeking to strengthen security in the Middle East.

It was a pleasure to host my counterpart, where we were steadfast in our commitment  to protect the free flow of global trade, while also discussing progress on land, maritime and air programmes.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the UK’s close support as it undertakes a Defence Transformation under its ‘Vision 2030’. The UK is continuing with our Defence Adviser Programme to Saudi Arabia for a further 3 years, demonstrating our commitment to strengthen cooperation on defence and security matters.  

In order to address regional threats and challenges and ensure stability; Saudi Arabia and the UK will look to expand joint cooperation on multiple strategically significant capability areas that match our respective Defence capability plans.

Published 21 December 2023