UK increased weapons sales to Saudi Arabia by two thirds: Report
Iran Press TV
Fri Oct 19, 2018 02:20AM
UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia had increased in 2017 by two thirds, according to British media reports.
From 2016 to 2017, UK military sales to the Saudis went up by two thirds, Sky News reported on Thursday.
The UK sold at least £450 million more to Saudi Arabia in 2017 than 2016, with the true figure likely to be higher, Sky News said.
Earlier reports said the UK had almost doubled its arms sales from £820 million in 2016 to £1.5 billion in arms licenses in 2017.
Sky News reported that the UK issued 126 licenses relating to military goods in 2017, with a value of £1.129 billion - according to Department of International Trade figures.
This is compared to 103 licenses relating to military goods in 2016, with a value of £679 million, it said.
Reports of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia come out as business figures pull out of an upcoming investment conference scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 23.
The so-called Future Investment Initiative Summit, which has been dubbed Davos in the Desert, has been cancels by governments, executives and chiefs of international companies after the scandalous incident involving the disappearance of Saudi-national Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, who was a dissident journalist, entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul and never came out, according to Turkish police.
The incident sparked huge global outcry, resulting in widespread international criticism of the rulers of Saudi Arabia, particularly MBS.
UK trade secretary Liam Fox was among the main international figures who cancelled the Saudi summit over the humiliating Khashoggi incident.
Saudis humiliation in Yemen
Saudi Arabia has also been facing humiliating criticism over its brutal aggression in Yemen. Thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, have died as a result of the brutal Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
Campaigners have called on major arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia, the British government included, to stop selling weapons to the kingdom.
"The humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen is the worst in the world. UK-made fighter jets and bombs have played a central role in the destruction," said Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade, an organization which works to abolish the international arms trade.
Human rights advocates say the UK is complicit to Saudi Arabia's atrocities against the impoverished Yemeni nation.
"The humanitarian disaster that has been inflicted on Yemen is a man-made one, and the UK government is complicit. It's time for the UK government to end the arms sales and end its uncritical support for the Saudi dictatorship."
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