CAAT Challenges BAE Systems on Day of AGM

3 May 2001

Date: Thursday 3rd May, 10am onwards

Venue: QE II Conference Centre, Westminster

Activities: 9.00 a.m. – meeting outside QEII conference hall, 9.30 a.m. – shareholder questions and challenges, afterwards – peace vigil, answering press enquiries, peaceful direct action.

CAAT supporters will be travelling to London to protest at BAE Systems' Annual General Meeting. Many protesters with token shares will be attending the meeting and challenging BAE over export projects.

Richard Bingley of CAAT said:

This year, due to increasing arms projects and company mergers, there are more concerns than ever over BAE's business. In particular, BAE's developing trade relationship with China is highly questionable. This is all the more so in light of recent increases in domestic human rights abuses within China, but also with regard to regional and global stability and the growing hostility in Sino-American relations.

He continued:

The recent Quadripartite Committee report on export licenses called for better definition and compliance with the EU arms embargo on China. BAE's trade both undermines the UK's commitment to this embargo and legitimises an aggressive and repressive regime.

CAAT will challenge the BAE directors on this and many other vital issues at the meeting.

Despite issuing a profit warning in January, BAE has the world's largest military sales turnover. One of BAE's mainstays is the export of Hawk Ground Attack aircraft to Indonesia. Along with enormous sales to Saudi Arabia, BAE is vigorously promoting expensive Hawk advanced jet trainers and other military systems India and South Africa. Recent reports have highlighted South Africa's social austerity measures, lack of basic social provision and AIDS crisis, while India is in a state of hostility with Pakistan and suffers severe development problems.

Other items of concern include landmines, Morocco, Depleted Uranium, India and Pakistan, and Indonesia.

Richard Bingley said perhaps by asking about BAE's involvement in these very serious issues we might awaken, at least, a stir of ethics within the BAE board.

CAAT calls on BAE to stop the export of military equipment to areas of tension and to areas in need of intensive social development.

ENDS

For any information relating to the issues in the press pack, or other arms issues, please contact Richard Bingley or Robin Oakley on +44 (0)20 72810297 or +44 7947 230426. Alternatively contact media(at)caat·org·uk.

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