The British Prime Minister has praised his government over their efforts in selling fighter jets, manufactured by BAE Systems, to Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at a BAE Systems factory in Preston, David Cameron boasted about how the UK had pushed the sale of Eurofighter Typhoons to countries in the Middle East, including Oman and Saudi Arabia.
His comments came as the European parliament voted in favour of a resolution calling for an EU-wide arms embargo against the Kingdom.
Press TV reports: “I can see the planes being built right behind me here. We’ve got more work to do in Saudi Arabia. The Germans have done a lot of work as well. It is a collaborative project. We use the collective skills but also the collaborative muscles of all the governments to try and help make sure we can sell them around the world”, Cameron spoke while visiting the firm’s factory in Preston on Thursday.
“With the Typhoon there is an alliance of countries: the Italians, Germans and ourselves. We spend a lot of time trying to work out who is best placed to win these export orders”, Cameron said when asked by a BAE employ how he was helping boost exports of the Eurofighter.
The British government has been participating in efforts to sell the Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia, which has spent £3bn on UK aircraft, arms and other military kit in the last year alone.
However, London has recently faced harsh international condemnations over its weapon sales to Riyadh which has been pounding Yemen for almost a year now. While the United Nations has criticized Saudi bombing of Yemen, the European parliament has now voted for an arms embargo on the country over its bombardment of the impoverished Arab nation.
A resolution calling for a ban on all weapons sales to the country was passed by 359 votes to 212, with 31 MEPs abstaining.The vote does not force EU member states to comply but it increases pressure on national governments to re-examine their relationships with Riyadh.
Amnesty International released a report on Friday saying that the ongoing trade with Saudi Arabia was “truly sickening,” and urging governments to attend meetings in Geneva on Monday to discuss the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
According to RT: the report names the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the US as having issued licenses for arms to Saudi Arabia worth more than £18 billion in 2015.
The arms sold include drones, bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles, which have been used by Saudi Arabia and its allies for gross violations of human rights and possible war crimes during aerial and ground attacks in Yemen, the campaign group said.
Control Arms Director Anna Macdonald said: “Governments such as the UK and France were leaders in seeking to secure an ATT – and now they are undermining the commitments they made to reduce human suffering by supplying Saudi Arabia with some of the deadliest weapons in the world. It’s truly sickening.”