UK-Saudi-Bahrain relations report a “whitewash” – anti-arms trade groups

King Abdullah of oil rich Saudi Arabia has a lucrative relationship with the UK (Wiki Commons)

King Abdullah of oil rich Saudi Arabia has a lucrative relationship with the UK (Wiki Commons)

Broadcast on 23rd Nov 2013 on VoR.

A group of MPs has said the UK is suffering from a “credibility problem” over its relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The report by the Foreign Affairs Committee is calling on the government to better explain how it is juggling human rights concerns with trade and defence interests.

Civil liberties campaigners have dismissed the report as a ‘whitewash’.

Nima Green reports for Radio VoR. 

A group of MPs have told the government that it can no longer ignore allegations of hypocrisy in its dealings with, what they call, one of “the least democratic” regions in the world.

However, their report recognises that Gulf states are also extremely “wealthy and powerful”.

 Saudi Arabia is Britain’s biggest market in the Middle-East with bi-lateral trade amounting to £10.7 billion last year.

Bahrain also helps to protect Gulf shipping lanes through which 17 million barrels of oil are shipped every day.

Richard Ottaway MP is the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman. He said that the UK faces a dilemma in how to tread a path between furthering lucrative defence and trade interests and supporting human rights.

[LISTEN HERE-]

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