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PEACE campaigners have hit out at Britain’s plans to negotiate the sale of military aircraft to the authoritarian regime in Kazakhstan.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said Britain has already licensed the sale of at least £6.5 million of weapons to the repressive state, including sniper rifles and gun sights.
The group said that diplomats and representatives of the RAF are negotiating with the Kazakh authorities for the sale of A400M military transport aircraft manufactured by Airbus.
CAAT said a series of tweets from the British embassy in Kazakhstan revealed its role in hosting meetings between the RAF, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defence and Airbus to promote an aircraft deal.
According to the tweets, British personnel met Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin and Defence Minister Nurlan Yermekbaye.
The Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “Representatives from the RAF and Airbus briefed the Kazakh Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Industry & Infrastructure Development on how the A400M is an efficient and innovative aircraft that could effectively support their military operations.”
Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “This is a shameful show of hypocrisy. UK diplomats and armed forces personnel are not salespeople for Airbus.
“They should not be working in tandem with arms companies and acting as cheerleaders for arms sales.
“The regime in Kazakhstan has a very poor human-rights record and a long history of abuses.
“The UK government should be amplifying the voices of human-rights defenders in Kazakhstan and beyond, not arming and supporting the regime that is repressing them.”
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