Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has condemned Prince Charles for using his ongoing visit to Saudi Arabia to secure an agreement between the Saudi Arabian government and arms company BAE Systems to secure price increases for the sale of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia.
The deal comes just 24 hours before the publication of BAE’s most recent results, and follows David Cameron’s visit to the country in November in which he failed to secure a deal. The BAE share price was expected to fall if sales were not confirmed.
Andrew Smith, spokesperson for CAAT said:
It is clear that the UK government and BAE systems have used Prince Charles as an arms dealer. It is no coincidence that this deal was agreed so close to the publication of BAE’s results and will bolster its share price.
Saudi Arabia has one of the most authoritarian regimes in the world and when the UK sells it weapons it is lending it legitimacy and endorsing its repressive practices.
In the most recent Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index it was ranked 163 out of 167 countries and was given zero points for
electoral process and pluralism. The only countries ranked lower were Syria, Chad, Guinea Bissau and North Korea.
Over the past five years the UK has licensed over £5.6 billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia.
- In Saudi Arabia government and royalty are one and the same, and they value links with UK royalty. For ten years Prince Andrew acted as a Special Representative for Trade, making several trips to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. This visit by his elder brother, made at the request of the UK government, must be seen as a positive endorsement of government policy.
- On 14 March 2011 Saudi Arabia sent scores of UK-made armoured personnel carriers into Bahrain to aid the government’s bloody suppression of pro-democracy protesters. The armoured vehicles, marketed as Tacticas, were manufactured by BAE Systems Land Systems Division in Newcastle Upon Tyne with final assembly taking place in Belgium.
- There are extensive military links between the UK and Saudi Arabia, especially through the Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Project (MODSAP) and the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project (SANGCOM). About 270 UK Ministry of Defence civil servants and military personnel work in the UK and Saudi Arabia to support the contracts through the MODSAP and SANGCOM. They are paid for by the Saudi Arabian Government.
About Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in the UK works to end the international arms trade. The arms business has a devastating impact on human rights and society and damages economic development. Large-scale military procurement and arms exports only reinforce a militaristic approach to international problems. CAAT was awarded a Right Livelihood Award – the
Alternative Nobel Prize – for its
innovative and effective campaigning against the arms trade.