Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) condemns the forthcoming official visit of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because it openly supports a deeply repressive and abusive regime and promotes the already strong military ties between the UK and Saudi Arabia. The visit comes two years after the Saudi Arabian National Guard sent British-made armoured personnel vehicles into Bahrain to support the suppression of protests there.
The first listed of the themes of the visit is the “military links between the Saudi and UK Armed Forces”. It is likely that the visit has been added to the Prince’s Middle East itinerary in an attempt to persuade the Saudi regime to finalise a contract for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. Prime Minister David Cameron’s trip in November 2012 failed to do this, the UK government probably believes the Saudis will be more impressed with a royal.
The UK sells more arms to Saudi Arabia than to any other country. Over the past five years the UK has licensed almost £4 billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia and it wants to sell even more.
CAAT spokesperson, Kaye Stearman, said:
The BAE Eurofighter deal is still under discussion, the Serious Fraud Office is investigating a second Saudi arms deal and a parliamentary committee is undertaking a review of UK-Saudi relations. Added to this is the steady stream of news about human rights abuses and reports of unrest in Saudi Arabia. No wonder the Saudi rulers are feeling concerned – even insecure. The visit of Prince Charles is meant to reassure them that they still have the support of the UK government and that they should sign the Eurofighter Typhoon deal.