Saudi Arabia, Britain sign defense cooperation agreement
The Saudi Minister of Defense and his British counterpart review bilateral relations in the military and defense field and ways to enhance them.
The Saudi Minister of Defense, Khalid bin Salman, and his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, signed on Tuesday a Plan for Defense Cooperation
The two ministers held a meeting at the headquarters of the British Ministry of Defense in London, during which they reviewed the strategic and historical relations between the two countries and discussed aspects of bilateral cooperation in the military and defense field and ways to enhance it, in addition to discussing a number of issues of common concern and developments in the situation at the regional and international levels.
On his part, Wallace said, "It is a pleasure to sign this Plan for Defence Cooperation, bringing us even closer to one of our most important partners. It is a key milestone between our two nations, as we look to enhance our defence partnership further in support of mutual and regional security."
In a statement, the British Ministry of Defense considered that the cooperation plan "will enhance bilateral defence and security cooperation to address shared security challenges, including through regular dialogue and consultation, education and training, and capability-building."
Today Defence Secretary @BWallaceMP hosted HRH Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Minister for Defence of Saudi Arabia.— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) December 13, 2022
Building on the long-standing UK-Saudi relationship, they signed a new defence agreement as part of a shared commitment to security.
➡️ https://t.co/WYyLR1DbOL pic.twitter.com/AAePqdVY3T
On his part, the Saudi Minister of Defense expressed his pleasure at visiting the headquarters of the UK’s biggest weapons manufacturer, BAE Systems in Wharton, adding that he was briefed on the company's future plans and strategies, the program for future combat air systems, and on the site of developing and designing modern air systems.
It was a pleasure to tour BAE Systems in Warton, UK, during my visit and view the company’s future plans and strategies, their program for future combat air system as well as their modern air systems design and development site. pic.twitter.com/7qR4CW4lLY— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) December 14, 2022
It is noteworthy that the openDemocracy news website mentioned in late September that since the war on Yemen began in 2015, BAE Systems has sold £15bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, including Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets, despite its spokesperson claiming that the company's work for Saudi Arabia "does not involve the company in military operational activity and our people are not involved in the loading of weapons for operational sorties."
Early this year, the former head of the British Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said the UK government was complicit in the Saudi airstrikes on Yemen.
Corbyn has stated that if his party wins the country's upcoming election, he will stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia for use in war-torn Yemen.
"Labour will stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen and work to end the war there, not actively support it as the Conservative government has done,” he pointed out.
UK test weapons on Yemeni children
It is noteworthy that the United Kingdom signed off on arms exports worth nearly $1.9 billion to Saudi Arabia between July and September 2020 following the lifting of a ban on weapons sales to the Gulf country.
"UK-made weapons have played a devastating role in the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis they have created, yet the UK government has done everything it can to keep the arms sales flowing," Sarah Waldron, a spokesperson for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), had previously pointed out.
Between January 2015 and December 2019, the British government approved 385 licenses for the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.
In March, a member of the Supreme Political Council in Yemen, Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi, underscored that the US and UK test the effectiveness of their weapons by selling them to the Gulf aggression countries, which they use in killing Yemeni children.