UK offered arms sales to Saudi after Khashoggi murder: Report
Iran Press TV
Tue Jan 1, 2019 07:59AM
The UK kept weapons sales talks with Saudi Arabia running after the kingdom admitted to dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder, a new report has revealed.
The Daily Mirror reported Tuesday it had evidence that a high-level British arms export delegation was in Riyadh on October 2, the day Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The arms traders returned to Riyadh on October 14 and 22 and held further meetings with Saudi military officials as the kingdom was trying its utmost to contain the damage from Khashoggi's disappearance, the report added.
By the time the third meeting took place, the Saudi regime had already discarded its numerous contradictory explanations on Khashoggi's fate and acknowledged that he was killed in a dispute.
Among the British delegation were the UK Department for International Trade Defense & Security Organization (DIT DSO)'s interim head of Mission in the Middle East as well as retired Air Vice Marshal Nigel Maddox, a military advisor.
This raises questions about British government officials' sincerity in their criticism of Riyadh in the aftermath of the murder.
On October 19, the day Saudi finally came clean, British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt warned Riyadh there would be "consequences" if Saudi authorities were found to have been involved in the assassination.
Days before on October 13, reports surfaced claiming that London was gathering a list of Saudi officials who could potentially come under sanctions as a punishment for their involvement.
There were even reports British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had intercepted data that showed Khashoggi was killed on orders from a "member of the royal circle."
"There is a rank hypocrisy at the heart of the Government's foreign policy," said Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade. "As Jeremy Hunt was in the Commons condemning the murder, there were civil servants in Riyadh pushing for even more arms sales."
Documents obtained by the Mirror were titled "ROC: Riyadh Operations Centre requirements," which seems to be a reference to Saudi Arabia's ongoing war on Yemen.
The UK has licensed over £4.7 billion worth of arms exports to Riyadh since the deadly conflict began in March 2015.
Britain has also been providing combat intelligence and target data to Saudi Arabia over the course of the war, which has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians and put millions more on the verge of famine.
The war is being led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler who is also accused of personally ordering Khashoggi's murder.
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