MADRID: Close ties between the royal families of Spain and Saudi Arabia could help Madrid conclude a lucrative deal to sell warships to Riyadh.
Spain’s King Felipe VI will on Saturday begin a three-day official visit to the Middle Eastern country at the invitation of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
Spanish media has linked this visit to a much anticipated deal to sell Avante 2200 corvettes for an estimated two billion euros ($2.1 billion).
“We can only confirm that negotiations are very advanced to build five warships which would be sold to the Saudi navy,” a spokesperson for state-owned Spanish ship builder Navantia told AFP.
Spain is currently the seventh largest arms exporter in the world. Its arms exports jumped by 55 percent in 2011-15 over the previous five years, according to the Brussels-based Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security.
And its sales to Saudi Arabia, the country with the highest military expenditure per capita, are on the rise.