British prime minister in Gulf seeking to boost military ties
British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to expand military and trade links despite strained relations over probes into human rights issues.
A main goal of Cameron’s trip to the two Gulf states is to push through deals for British Typhoon fighter jets.
But both Gulf countries have complained about British and European Parliament statements on possible rights abuses, including the UAE’s crackdowns on an Islamist faction and the Saudi role in aiding Bahrain’s fight against an anti-government uprising.
Cameron visited a trade fair in Dubai Nov. 5 before heading for talks in Abu Dhabi. He has meetings in Saudi Arabia Nov. 6.
It is Cameron’s second visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia as prime minister. AP
U.S. military delegation visits Egypt’s Sinai
Egyptian and American officials say the deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command is paying a visit to American troops stationed in Egypt’s troubled Sinai Peninsula, which has been plagued by lawlessness and hit by a string of militant attacks.
U.S. officials described the Nov. 5 visit by Vice Adm. Robert Harward as routine.
U.S. troops make up the single largest contingent of the 1,650-strong Multinational Force and Observers mission in Sinai.
The 12-nation MFO is part of the peace treaty signed by Egypt and Israel in 1979.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Egyptian authorities fired the security chief in northern Sinai Nov. 4 after troops came under numerous attacks by militants, who have also staged cross-border strikes into Israel. AP
UTC prepays outstanding Goodrich acquisition credit facility
United Technologies Corp. prepaid $1 billion of the outstanding principal amount under its Apr. 24, 2012 Term Loan Credit Agreement Nov. 5.
On July 26, 2012, United Technologies Corp. borrowed $2 billion under this facility to pay a portion of the cash consideration for its recently-completed acquisition of Goodrich Corp. The $1.0 billion prepayment represents a 50 percent reduction in the $2 billion outstanding principal amount under the facility due Dec. 31, 2012.
French, Brazilian defense ministers discuss planes
French Defense Minister Jean Yves Le Drian is visiting Brazil to promote the sale of Rafale jet fighters to the South American nation.
Brazil wants to modernize its air force with 36 new aircraft, but has delayed a decision on the deal that could be worth $7 billion. The Rafale is among the planes used in the Brazilian force.
Le Drian met Nov. 5 with his counterpart Celso Amorim on his first visit to Brazil since the inauguration of French President Francois Hollande.
The ministers discussed cooperation in the construction of five submarines, including one nuclear-powered, as well as the production of 50 helicopters and other military equipment.
They confirmed they discussed the possible sale of the fighter jets made by French manufacturer Dassault, but indicated no deal was reached. AP
Putin fires defense minister in wake of scandal
Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired the country’s defense minister two weeks after a criminal probe was opened into alleged fraud in the sell-off of military assets.
Putin made the announcement of Anatoly Serdyukov’s dismissal Nov. 6 in a meeting with Moscow regional governor Sergei Shoigu, whom he appointed as the new minister.
Putin’s comments appeared to connect the decision to a probe announced by the country’s top investigative agency last month into the sale of assets, including real estate, at prices far below market value.
The Investigative Committee says the state suffered damages of $95 million.
Putin says he made the decision “in order to create terms for the objective investigation of all questions” involving the ministry. AP