Tuesday, February 22, 2011

David Cameron's Cairo Visit Overshadowed by Defence Tour

David Cameron's efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East by becoming the first foreign leader to visit Cairo were overshadowed as it emerged that he will spend the next three days touring undemocratic Gulf states with eight of Britain's leading defence manufacturers.

After a hastily convened stopover in Egypt, where he spoke of being "inspired" by protesters, the PM began a long-scheduled trade mission by landing in Kuwait, a key military ally. Britain has approved 1,155 arms export licences for Kuwait since 2003, worth a total of £102.3m, according the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

Key deals on the table this week include the sale of Eurofighters to the Gulf.

Meanwhile Gerald Howarth, a British defence minister, was also attending the region's largest arms fair, in Abu Dhabi, where a further 93 British companies are promoting their wares. They included companies selling rubber bullets and CS gas for crowd control as well as heavily armoured riot vans.'


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