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Home » , , » Prince Andrew attacked for opening door to arms dealers

Prince Andrew attacked for opening door to arms dealers

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on April 10, 2011 | 6:00 PM

PRINCE Andrew, the Duke of York was criticised for "opening doors for arms dealers" yesterday, while senior business and political figures gave their backing to his role as a government trade envoy.
Prince Andrew arrived back from his visit to Indonesia, which is seeking the lifting of a British arms export ban so that it can buy military jets.
His trip took place six weeks after David Cameron was criticised for promoting the sale of British weapons in Egypt as the country went through a bloody revolution.

It was his first trip as trade envoy since the revelation of his links to an American sex offender and support for deals with countries with questionable human rights records.
During the three-day trip he met President Yudhoyono and Mari Pangestu, the Indonesian Trade Minister, both of whom he had also met in Switzerland in January.
The Times revealed last month that Indonesia has made an informal approach to acquire as many as 24 Eurofighter Typhoon jets in a deal worth up to pounds 5billion ($7.7 billion AUD). Separately, BAE Systems has offered to upgrade the country's Hawk aircraft.
Gerald Howarth, the Defence Minister, attended a defence summit in Jakarta last month where he said that he expected to discuss sales of the Typhoon.
Sales of military equipment to Indonesia were banned in 1999 after reports that the Hawks were used to attack civilians in East Timor and West Papau.
Kaye Stearman, a spokeswoman for Campaign Against Arms Trade, said that Indonesia bought half of its military equipment from Britain in the five years leading up to the export ban.
"It seems that Prince Andrew's role is to open doors to arms deals rather than to do the actual negotiation," Ms Stearman said. "People in some of these countries are still impressed by the British royalty, but it is highly damaging for the Royal Family to be associated with such deals."
A Commons committee this week laid bare the "dirty secret" of Britain selling arms to some of the world's most brutal regimes. The Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls said that Labour and Conservative governments alike had misjudged the risk that the arms might be used for internal repression.
Britain banned arms exports to Indonesia when Robin Cook, the Labour Foreign Secretary, acknowledged that British-supplied Hawk jets and Scorpion armoured vehicles had been used against civilians in breach of assurances given by Jakarta.
The Duke's involvement in trade talks with the Indonesian government has been criticised by campaigners from West Papua, a province fighting for independence. Opposition groups claim that they have been bombed by military jets supplied by Britain.
However, about 20 senior business and political figures have signed a letter defending the Duke's role as a trade envoy for UK Trade & Investment and asking for the media to be fair in its reports. The signatories include Stuart Gulliver, chief executive of HSBC; Michael Spencer, chief executive of ICAP and former Tory party treasurer; Lord Levene of Portsoken, chairman of Lloyd's of London; Lord Davies of Abersoch, a former trade minister, Lord King of Bridgwater, a former defence secretary, and Lord Young of Graffham, who quit last year as David Cameron's enterprise adviser.
A previous attempt by the Government to demonstrate support for the Duke backfired when a collection of supportive quotes from leading companies turned out to have been made several years ago.
A spokesman for UK Trade & Investment said: "The Duke's visit to Indonesia is part of our building a trade relationship. He is not visiting any defence companies."
During the visit the Duke promoted British expertise in energy, transport manufacturing and financial services, and was assured that Indonesia is lifting barriers to international businesses. The spokesman said that the trip was unrelated to Mr Howarth's visit to the defence forum last month.
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