31 August 2011
"Greatest opportunities are in the Middle East" boasts arms industry speakers
Representatives of the arms industry are to speak at a London Chamber of Commerce (LCC) seminar that openly extols the further potential of selling arms to repressive regimes in the Middle East.
Scheduled for Thursday 8 September, Middle East: A vast market for UK Defence and security companies features speakers from UK Trade & Industry Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), the government's arms sales unit, and is hosted by state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), already criticised for its continuing investment in cluster bombs.
The blurb for the seminar states:
The Middle East is one of the regions with the greatest number of opportunities for UK defence and security companies. Saudi Arabia ranks eighth in the list of the world's top spenders in defence and is also the world's top defence importer, having spent $56 bn in 2009. UAE is also a big spender in defence having spent $17 bn in 2009.... Within the Middle East, Saudi Arabia stands out as the top destination for the UK defence industry. Also featured in this list .... are Oman, UAE and Bahrain, however the Middle East as a whole represents a priority market ... and is undoubtedly a very worthwhile region to target.
The Chairman and Opening Speaker is David Lockwood, Chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce Defence & Security Committee and Managing Director of Thales (UK). UKTI DSO speakers are Steve Moore, Country Manager for Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and Simon Everest, Head of Security Directorate. RBS is represented by David Houghton, Director of Global Strategic Partnerships.
The seminar on the afternoon of Thursday 8 September is scheduled just five days before the opening of Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi), the London arms fair. Held at the ExCel Centre in London's Docklands, DSEi is one of the world's largest arms fairs and is highly controversial, especially at a time when Middle East and North African governments are using UK weaponry against democracy protestors.
Kaye Stearman from CAAT says:
For the arms industry and the UK government that supports it so enthusiastically, the Arab Spring was an inconvenience but now it is back to business as usual. While the government professes to welcome new democratic movements, they continue to licence weapons sales to the same governments that brutally suppress them. This is a seminar of shame.
For further information contact CAAT's Media Co-ordinator Kaye Stearman on 0207 281 0287 or email Kaye Stearman.
1. 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 Around 80% of CAAT's income is raised from individual supporters.
2. An inter-faith vigil at the site of the arms fair on Monday 12 September marks the start of a week of activities organised by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) as part of Stop the Arms Fair Coalition. CAAT has organised a mass lobby of Parliament on 13 September, DSEi opening day, calling on MPs to support an end to arms sales to repressive regimes and an end to government support for the arms industry and DSEi. There will be non-violent direct action throughout the week. More details here.
3. The seminar Middle East: A vast market for UK defence and security companies, is scheduled for Thursday 8 September, 3pm to 6.30pm, at Royal Bank of Scotland, 250 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4AA. It is advertised as costing £42 for Premier Plus members and £89 for non-members. More information here.
4. Defence & Security Equipment International (formerly Defence Systems & Equipment International), or DSEi, is one of the world's biggest arms fairs and has been held in the ExCel centre in East London's Docklands since 1999. The 2011 DSEi arms fair is scheduled for 13-16 September 2011. DSEi receives major financial, logistical and political support from the UK government, most notably through UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation. The last DSEi in 2009 hosted delegations from Algeria, Bahrain and Libya, countries which have this year turned their weapons on civilian protesters.
6. Clarion Events bought DSEi and two other arms fair in May 2008. They have since brought a number of other arms fairs and have joined the ADS, the trade organisation for the aerospace, defence and security industries. Further information on arms fairs is on CAAT website.