18 August 2006
Government Remains Silent on Effects of Saudi Arms Deal
As the UK announced the sale of 72 Eurofighter jets to Saudi Arabia, campaigners called on the Government to come clean on the details of the deal. The sale was announced today by the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems, who will be the primary producer. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) pointed out that neither the Government nor BAE Systems have produced evidence to back up the claim that the British economy will benefit.
CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said:
"As UK taxpayers, we have subsidised this deal. We are entitled to know the details. But while BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence brag about the sale, they have failed to demonstrate any gains for the British public. The real beneficiary is the oppressive regime in Saudi Arabia, one of the world's worst abusers of human rights. The people of the UK have lost out, as selling arms to a volatile area can only add to an insecure and unstable world. The Government speaks of security one day and undermines it the next."
For further information or an interview please contact CAAT's Media Co-ordinator, Symon Hill on 020 7281 0297 or email press(at)caat·org·uk.
- Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
- The sale of 72 Eurofighter jets to Saudi Arabia was announced by the Ministry of Defence this morning (18.08.06). BAE Systems, the UK's largest arms manufacturer, will be the primary company involved in their production, along with EADS and Finmeccanica.
- Neither the Ministry of Defence nor BAE Systems has given details of the cost of the agreement nor of the plans for the production of the jets.
- This agreement follows two previous contracts for the sale of UK arms to Saudi Arabia, Al Yamamah 1 (1986) and Al Yamamah 2 (1988). Both the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Trade and Industry have admitted that they conducted no studies into the economic effects of those contracts.
- On 16th June, Newsnight published evidence (based on CAAT research) of a history of corruption in the sale of arms from the UK to Saudi Arabia.
- UK taxpayers subsidise the arms trade through the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), a Government unit that identifies opportunities for arms sales and assists arms companies to reach deals. Over 30 organisations, including the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party have signed a statement calling for DESO's closure. A day of action in the campaign to shut DESO will take place on 16th October.