The head of BAE Systems, the largest defence company in the United Kingdom has said, that Britain must remain a “critical friend” to Saudi Arabia.
Roger Carr, the chairman of BAE Systems, said that the United Kingdom could help Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, change the trajectory of his country.
In an interview with Sky News, he stated: “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.”
Carr said that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist, and the involvement of Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen were negatively affecting the international standing of the country.
Last year, Khashoggi was killed in the Istanbul consulate of Saudi, a move which some assume was authorised by the Crown Prince himself.
Carr stated: “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.”
He added: “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.”
He continued: “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.”
Currently, BAE is a part of a multi-billion pound deal to sell Typhoon fighter jets to the Gulf kingdom.
Regarding Yemen, Carr stated: “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.”