The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia have long been close allies. The origins of these relations date back to the time of the First World War, when Ibn Saud signed the Treaty of Darin with the British government, thereby accepting the status of a British protectorate. On 20 May 1927, the British government and the Kingdom of Nejd concluded the Treaty of Jeddah, a further agreement. The United Kingdom was among the first states that recognised the country in 1926 and had a diplomatic delegation in the country. Saudi Arabia opened its embassy in London in 1930, which was the country's second official foreign affairs body in abroad and led by Hafiz Wahbah.
There are more than 150 joint ventures between British and Saudi Companies and some 30,000 British nationals are living and working in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the United Kingdom's primary trading partner in the Middle East.
The UK has an embassy in Riyadh, consulate in Jeddah and trade office in Al Khobar. Saudi Arabia has an embassy and consulate in London.
In 2005 the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia agreed a military agreement, where the UK would equip Saudi Arabia with Eurofighter Typhoons. As a result of the deal a spokesman stated:
"I welcome this Understanding as the latest practical example of the close relationship that exists between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabian Governments. It offers opportunities for forging closer links between our armed forces and industries, which will benefit both nations."
"This Understanding is good news for both UK and Saudi industry. BAE SYSTEMS, as Prime Contractor, and its many UK sub-contractors will benefit from the work envisaged under this Understanding, which will help sustain several thousand UK jobs over the next ten years. In addition, the associated technology transfer, training and inward investment packages will generate many skilled jobs in Saudi Arabia."