UK sold at least £11m of arms to Saudi Arabia in weeks after Khashoggi murder

Date: 
May, 2019
Country: 
United Kingdom (England)

The UK government approved arms sales totalling at least £11.4m in the weeks after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Export licences for military vehicles, combat aircraft, ammunition and electronic warfare equipment were issued despite international condemnation of the killing.

One £9.1m shipment of “patrol/assault craft” was waved through just three days after the prominent journalist disappeared while visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey on 2 October.

The exports continued as it was reported that Mr Khashoggi had been tortured, killed and dismembered by officials linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia initially denied the claims before claiming on 20 October that Mr Khashoggi had died during a “fist fight”.

Two days later, as foreign minister Jeremy Hunt condemned the killing “in the strongest possible terms”, British trade officials pursued further deals during a high-level meeting with their Saudi counterparts.

The same day the government approved a licence for electronic warfare equipment valued at £180,000, according to official statistics analysed by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Further sales were approved the following month – including components for combat aircraft on 14 November, two days after the foreign secretary raised the murder of Mr Khashoggi during a meeting with Saudi leaders.

In total, the government approved 12 standard export licences to the value of £11,414,054 between October and December 2018.

However, the true figure may be higher as two further “open” licences of potentially unlimited value were also approved during the same period. These both involved military aircraft parts and technology.

Source: Independent