Britain to sell 48 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia despite humanitarian concerns

11 March, 2018, 01:29 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • In reaction BAE's share price jumped 2.0 percent to 600.80 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index

Kate Osamor, the shadow global development secretary, slammed the deal as "a national disgrace", saying Prime Minister Theresa May had said she would raise concerns over the Yemen situation in talks with bin Salman.

During the hour-long visit at Lambeth Palace, the pair discussed the crown prince's reform plans and Welby - the head of the Anglican church - expressed his concerns about the treatment of Christians in Saudi Arabia.

The memorandum of intent was signed after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with British defence minister Gavin Williamson.

Bin Salman, who was in London from Wednesday until Friday, is regarded as the architect of Riyadh's three-year war on Yemen.

For days, activists have been calling for Britain to suspend arms sales to the kingdom.

May defended the Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen suggesting "their involvement ... came at the request of the legitimate government of Yemen, it is backed by the United Nations Security Council and as such we support it", she said.

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The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman leaves 10 Downing Street in London, March 7, 2018.

Prince Mohammed's itinerary was largely private, including meetings with bankers, executives and lawmakers, and he did not speak publicly at any point during the trip.

But the war he launched in Yemen has tarnished his image as a reformer and moderate.

May's government has remained defiant in the face of growing pressure to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia, defending the sales amid evidence of war crimes and civilian deaths in Yemen.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said the United Kingdom had already licensed £4.6bn of arms for Saudi Arabia since the Yemen conflict began in 2015. The UK has, so far, sold more than six billion pounds of arms to Saudi Arabia.

Labour Liverpool Walton MP Dan Carden tweeted: 'Before signing any humanitarian partnership with Saudi Arabia the UK Government should have insisted on a full resolution to the Saudi-caused humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

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