Saudi and Britain have decided to finalize a multi-billion-dollar deal for the sale of 48 Typhoon aircraft to Riyadh, despite massive protests against London’s arms supply to the Al Saud kingdom during its deadly war against Yemen.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Friday, military equipment maker BAE Systems said it signed the preliminary order from Saudi for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, without providing any financial details.
“The UK government has signed a Memorandum of Intent with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to aim to finalize discussions for the purchase of 48 Typhoon Aircraft,” the statement said.
British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson hailed the development, saying, “The Crown Prince’s visit has opened a new chapter in our two countries’ historic relationship.”
“We have taken a vital step towards finalizing another order for Typhoon jets that will increase security in the Middle East and boost British industry and jobs in our unrivalled aerospace sector,” he said.
The deal for the sale of Typhoon warplanes has been under discussion for years, but the two sides could not reach any agreement as they disagreed over the place of production of the jets, with Saudi Arabia urging to have some parts of the process on Saudi soil.
Adding fuel to humanitarian fire
Amnesty International UK’s Director Kate Allen slammed the agreement, saying, “Selling more fighter planes to a country leading a military coalition that is already laying waste to homes, hospitals and schools in Yemen, is just adding fuel to a humanitarian fire.”
“If agreed, this shameful deal will be celebrated in the palaces of Riyadh and by the arms companies who will profit from it, but it will mean even greater destruction for the people of Yemen,” said Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade.
Britain and Saudi Arabia have agreed to raise their bilateral trade and investment to $65 billion for the coming years, but the bulk of their business ties focuses on defense and security.
Britain credits Saudi intelligence sharing with saving British lives and has licensed billions of pounds of weapons and ammunition sales to Saudi Arabia.
Yemen has been since March 2015 under a brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition, in a bid to restore power to fugitive former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been injured and martyred in Saudi-led strikes, with the vast majority of them are civilians.
However, the allied forces of the Yemeni Army and popular committees established by Ansarullah revolutionaries have been heroically confronting the aggression with all means, inflicting huge losses upon Saudi-led forces.
The Saudi-led coalition – which also includes UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Kuwait – has been also imposing a blockade on the impoverished country’s ports and airports as a part of the aggression.
Source: Al-Manar Website and Press TV