Saudi Arabia increases fighter pilots' pay by up to 60 percent

Drawing mixed reactions on social media, British Prime Minister Theresa May did not wear a headscarf during her visit as most Saudi women do.

Ahead of the visit, she said: "As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, we are determined to forge a bold, confident future for ourselves in the world".

May has said that economic issues were a priority on her trip, but maintains she will not shy away from addressing "hard issues" on foreign visits. A Saudi-led coalition of Arab states has launched thousands of air strikes in an effort to dislodge Iranian-aligned Houthis from the capital Sanaa and restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

She is scheduled to meet King Salman on Wednesday.

Arriving in Amman on Monday, she will set out a package of measures to bolster co-operation between British forces and the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) and to tackle violent extremism in the region.

It will include training carried out in Jordan and Britain to help the RJAF "improve its capability" to carry out air strikes against IS, she said.

Qatar announced plans last month to invest £5 billion ($6.23 billion/5.8 billion euros) in Britain within five years.

Riyadh is also looking at boosting its foreign investments as part of a long-term plan known as "Vision 2030", which aims to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil revenues.

The United Nations says the war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians and caused a humanitarian crisis in the country. Seven million Yemenis face starvation.

Andrew Smith, from the Campaign Against Arms Trade, which is trying to block United Kingdom arms sales through the courts, said: "We are always being told how much influence the United Kingdom supposedly has over Saudi Arabia".

"If May wants to play a positive role in turning around a dire situation, then she must end the arms sales and her Government's complicity in the destruction".

"So I hope my visit will herald a further intensification in relations between our countries and deepen true strategic partnerships, enabling us to seize the opportunities ahead and ensure the security and prosperity of our people for decades to come".

May, who landed in Riyadh on Tuesday, will be joined by the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange for a financial roundtable at the kingdom's bourse.

Mogherini made the remarks just one day after Yemen wrote a letter to the European Union, calling on the 28-nation bloc to pressure Saudi Arabia into ending its deadly military intervention and inhumane blockade of the impoverished nation.

  • Leroy Wright