This week Prince Charles flew to Saudi Arabia and danced for its autocratic rulers. The next day Saudi Arabia and arms company BAE Systems announced they had finalised their latest multi-billion pound weapons deal.
Charles was in Saudi Arabia at the request of the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. BAE’s share price was set to fall this week unless agreement could be reached on its latest sales of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, so the UK government sent in the royals to seal the deal. As a Buckingham Palace spokesperson has said “Middle East potentates like meeting princes.”
Human rights organisations had highlighted Saudi Arabia’s appalling record on human rights and urged Charles to use his visit to promote reform. Instead he has sent a clear signal of support for repression.
Please sign CAAT’s petition to challenge the Royal Family’s complicity in arms dealing.
This is just the latest instalment in a shameful record of UK governments pulling out all the stops to help secure BAE’s weapons deals ‐ and of the royal family helping.
Prince Charles last visited Saudi Arabia only 11 months ago: the trip was explicitly requested by the UK government to help ‘enhance military links’. Just last month, Prince Andrew was promoting BAE’s jets to Saudi ally Bahrain – despite its own ongoing crackdown.
The royal family claim to be apolitical – but these are not apolitical actions. They are political actions which put the interests of private weapons companies before human rights – and they are a shameful international representation of the UK.
Please add your voice to our petition to the Foreign Office and Buckingham Palace to say that the royal family should not be promoting arms sales.
The media are reporting Charles’ ‘sword dance’ with glee, but very few outlets are focusing on the wider message he is sending. This morning, campaigners were threatened with arrest for unveiling a banner at Buckingham Palace to expose the royal family’s support for arms sales and human rights abuse. This message shouldn’t be hushed up. Please help to expose it!