UK Errs on Political Fronts

UK Errs on Political Fronts
UK Errs on Political Fronts

Britain’s Ministry of Defense has confirmed it is providing Saudi Arabia with arms and technical support in its ongoing war against Yemen.

An MoD official said on condition of anonymity that the UK’s assistance to Saudi Arabia includes providing “precision guided weapons.”

Anti-arms trade campaigners condemned Britain’s support for the Persian Gulf monarchy, claiming the UK cares more about arms sales than human rights and democracy, RT reported.

The official said: “The UK is not participating directly in Saudi military operations. We are providing support to the Saudi Arabian armed forces and as part of pre-existing arrangements are providing precision guided weapons to assist the Saudi Air Force. “The use of these weapons is a matter for the Saudis.”

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said, “The Saudi bombing has created a humanitarian catastrophe and now we know the UK weapons have contributed to it.

“These weapons have not just given military support to the bombardment, they have also provided a strong political support and underlined the closeness between the UK and Saudi governments.

“With the destruction of Yemen and the intensifying crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia, the UK government is sending the message that human rights and democracy are less important than arms sales,” he added. Saudi Arabia has spent an estimated $4 billion upgrading its fleet of 73 Tornados as part of a deal negotiated with UK-based arms manufacturers BAE Systems.

Saudi Arabia and the UK have long had close dealings in the arms trade. Saudi Arabia is Britain’s largest customer for weapons and the UK is the kingdom's single biggest supplier, according to CAAT.

 Sisi Invited to UK

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, an ex-military leader, has been officially invited to London on behalf of British Prime Minister David Cameron, an official spokeswoman of Downing Street announced Friday.

Cameron has reportedly invited el-Sisi for bilateral talks sometime later this year.

The news of the visit drew criticism from several non-governmental organizations and associations in the UK as it came shortly after an Egyptian court handed down death and life sentences to the first democratically-elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, on Tuesday.