“An investigation into the foreign funding of extremist Islamist groups may never be published, the Home Office has admitted. …
[This inquiry was set up while Hugo Swire was at the Foreign Office
after which, following his sacking by Theresa May, he became ChAirman of the Conservative Middle East Council and Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC)]
… The inquiry commissioned by David Cameron, was launched as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats in December 2015, in exchange for the party supporting the extension of British airstrikes against Isis into Syria.
But although it was due to be published in the spring of 2016, it has not been completed and may never be made public due to its “sensitive” contents.
It is thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, which the UK recently approved £3.5bn worth of arms export licences to. …
Accusing the Conservatives of being “worried about upsetting their dodgy friends in the Middle East”, he said party had “broken their pledge to investigate funding of violent Islamist groups in the UK”.
He added: “That short-sighted approach needs to change. It is critical that these extreme, hard line views are confronted head on, and that those who fund them are called out publicly.”
It comes after Home Secretary Amber Rudd suggested during a leadership debate, that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia are good for industry.”
SWIRE’S TAKE ON ARMS TO SAUDI ARABIA:
“I am reassured that the Government takes seriously its legal obligations as regards the licensing of arms for export to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. The UK has one of the most rigorous licensing regimes in the world.
Each application is considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account the precise nature of the equipment and the identity and track record of the recipient. The Government has consistently said it does not, and will not, issue licences where it judges that the proposed export would provoke or prolong internal conflicts, or where there is a clear risk it might be used to facilitate internal repression or be used aggressively against another country. I have always fully supported this stance.
Saudi Arabia has publicly stated that it is investigating reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law. This is an important process and the UK is fully behind thorough investigations into all allegations of violations of International Law. Finding a political solution to the conflict in Yemen is the best way to bring long-term stability and peace talks are a top priority.
As you know, the Saudi-led coalition confirmed in December that a limited number of BL755 cluster munitions that were exported from the UK in the 1980s were used in Yemen, including by a coalition aircraft not far from the Saudi border. The coalition, whose members are not parties to the convention on cluster munitions, has said that they were used against a legitimate military target and did not therefore contravene international humanitarian law. However, Saudi Arabia has now confirmed that it will not use BL755 cluster munitions further, which I welcome.
The Government continues to monitor the situation closely, using cross-Departmental resources to seek further information. Additionally, the Government continues to welcome any further information NGOs can provide.”