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UK close to selling UAE 60 Typhoon jets defense source

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Britain has made “extremely encouraging” progress in securing an order from the United Arab Emirates for 60 Typhoon fighter jets made by BAE Systems , a British defense source said on Wednesday.

“There is a political agreement. Clearly there are a lot of details to be worked through, but it is extremely encouraging,” the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

He said a contract was likely to be signed sooner rather than later.

The official was speaking after British Prime Minister David Cameron travelled to the UAE earlier this week on a two-day diplomacy and trade visit. Previously, Cameron’s office and BAE sources had said the Emiratis had shown interest in ordering up to 60 of the aircraft.

The two countries said in a joint communiqué on Tuesday that they planned to establish a defense and industrial partnership involving close cooperation around the Typhoon. They did not give details of the tie-up.

In 2007, Saudi Arabia signed a contract with BAE to buy 72 Typhoons; that deal was worth around 4.5 billion pounds ($7 billion).