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Saudi Arabia: Western allies send mixed signals over arms deals

State-owned Saudi Arabia Military Industries (Sami) announced on 7 November that it had signed a joint venture with Spain’s firm Navantia to produce five Avante 2200 corvettes. It is the first major arms deal to make progress since the Jamal Khashoggi affair came to light; given that a €2bn ($2.3bn) contract was inked by the two sides in July, the decision to stage another formal signing at this time was perhaps motivated more by Riyadh’s desire to portray a sense of ‘business as usual’ rather than any commercial imperative.

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