UK’s Cameron looks for arms deals in GCC

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UK’s prime minister David Cameron is looking to sell at least 100 Eurofighters to the Gulf.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is touring the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman from November 5 to 7 in order to sell Eurofighter Typhoon jets to the UK’s allies in the region and to discuss the latest security threats.

The UAE had shown an interest in ordering up to 60 Typhoons to replace their ageing French Mirages in a deal worth £3 billion, Cameron’s office said in a statement. Cameron will also hold talks with the crown prince and the prime minister of the UAE on collaborating over next-generation aerospace equipment.

Saudi Arabia is interested in a second “substantial” order on top of the 72 Typhoons they already have, while Oman is in negotiations for 12 of the jets, the statement further said.

The British defence industry is worth £5.4 billion in annual exports and sustains 54,000 jobs. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a project involving British defense giant BAE Systems, Germany’s EADS and Italy’s Finmeccanica.

According to the BBC, Cameron’s visit comes amid signs of strained relations with Gulf states which has to do with Britain’s support calls for reform prompted by anti-government activists in the Gulf.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have warned that if Britain continues to support the movements they will increasingly give lucrative deals to Asian partners instead.

Saudi officials told the BBC last month they were “insulted” by a parliamentary inquiry expected to look into the country’s human rights record and that they would be “re-evaluating their country’s historic relations with Britain” in response.

The UAE’ Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash rubbished an October editorial in Britain’s Guardian newspaper describing the UAE as an “authoritarian regime”, accusing the paper of knowing “very little with their condescending view”.

In fact, perceived British criticism of the Gulf is not helping the sales pitch.

“A significant section of the NGOs…. are deliberately provoking parliamentarians into taking positions which are unnecessarily unsympathetic to the conditions on the ground in the Middle East, which does real damage to our arms exports,” said British lawmaker and former UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff.

Gulf allies don’t always understand why “Britain is so keen to shoot itself in the foot,” Luff told Reuters.

“I’m not condoning human rights abuses, of course not, but …. sometimes you have to be pragmatic,” he added.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

UK’s prime minister David Cameron is looking to sell at least 100 Eurofighters to the Gulf.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is touring the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman from November 5 to 7 in order to sell Eurofighter Typhoon jets to the UK’s allies in the region and to discuss the latest security threats.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

UK’s prime minister David Cameron is looking to sell at least 100 Eurofighters to the Gulf.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is touring the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman from November 5 to 7 in order to sell Eurofighter Typhoon jets to the UK’s allies in the region and to discuss the latest security threats.

The UAE had shown an interest in ordering up to 60 Typhoons to replace their ageing French Mirages in a deal worth £3 billion, Cameron’s office said in a statement. Cameron will also hold talks with the crown prince and the prime minister of the UAE on collaborating over next-generation aerospace equipment.

Saudi Arabia is interested in a second “substantial” order on top of the 72 Typhoons they already have, while Oman is in negotiations for 12 of the jets, the statement further said.

The British defence industry is worth £5.4 billion in annual exports and sustains 54,000 jobs. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a project involving British defense giant BAE Systems, Germany’s EADS and Italy’s Finmeccanica.

According to the BBC, Cameron’s visit comes amid signs of strained relations with Gulf states which has to do with Britain’s support calls for reform prompted by anti-government activists in the Gulf.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have warned that if Britain continues to support the movements they will increasingly give lucrative deals to Asian partners instead.

Saudi officials told the BBC last month they were “insulted” by a parliamentary inquiry expected to look into the country’s human rights record and that they would be “re-evaluating their country’s historic relations with Britain” in response.

The UAE’ Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash rubbished an October editorial in Britain’s Guardian newspaper describing the UAE as an “authoritarian regime”, accusing the paper of knowing “very little with their condescending view”.

In fact, perceived British criticism of the Gulf is not helping the sales pitch.

“A significant section of the NGOs…. are deliberately provoking parliamentarians into taking positions which are unnecessarily unsympathetic to the conditions on the ground in the Middle East, which does real damage to our arms exports,” said British lawmaker and former UK Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff.

Gulf allies don’t always understand why “Britain is so keen to shoot itself in the foot,” Luff told Reuters.

“I’m not condoning human rights abuses, of course not, but …. sometimes you have to be pragmatic,” he added.

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