BAE Chairman: Britain should be a ‘critical friend’ to Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi and Yemen
Britain must remain a “critical friend” to Saudi Arabia, the head of the UK’s largest defence company has said.
BAE Systems chairman Roger Carr said that the UK could help Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman change his country’s trajectory.
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“What we want to see, by being a consistent and critical friend, is that Saudi Arabia, needs to return to the pathway it was on and develop in the way it was,” he told Sky News.
Carr said that the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war in Yemen were harming the country’s international standing.
Khashoggi was murdered in Saudi’s Istanbul consulate last year, a move which some say was authorised by the Crown Prince himself.
“Saudi Arabia was a country that was developing very well under new leadership – a sense of liberalization, opening up the country, opening up to opportunities for women. All these things were being very well received,” Carr said.
“Two issues damaged the position of Saudi Arabia in eyes of the world – the Khashoggi affair is one of them and also the war in Yemen.”
“On Khashoggi, we have seen that politicians have admonished Saudi Arabia. Politicians didn’t believe the way that was done and handled was appropriate or acceptable and that's exactly right,” he said.
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BAE is currently part of a multi-billion pound deal to sell Typhoon fighter jets to the gulf kingdom.
“Our involvement with Saudi Arabia is helping us to take them to a point where a war that is, for them, a defensive war is something that they all recognise as something that needs to be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible,” Carr said on Yemen.