Spain’s monarch is due in Saudi Arabia to help secure a lucrative warship deal with Riyadh, which has been under fire by rights groups for its bloody war against neighboring Yemen.
King Felipe VI will start the three-day visit of the kingdom on Saturday at the invitation of Saudi King Salman. The visit takes place in the light of a prospective contract to sell Avante 2200 corvettes, which can be equipped with missile systems and helicopter launch pads, for an estimated $2.1 billion, Spanish media say.
“We can only confirm that negotiations are very advanced to build five warships which would be sold to the Saudi navy,” a spokesman for state-owned Spanish ship builder Navantia said. Spain is the fourth biggest arms exporter to Saudi Arabia and seventh largest arms exporter in the world.—Agencies