Defence contracts on the agenda as Prime Minister arrives in UAE

 

David Cameron will tomorrow arrive in the United Arab Emirates on a mission to sell Britain's expertise in producing everything from bombs to hospitals.

His three-day visit to the Gulf region will see him tour Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia and will also include bilateral discussions on the threat posed by Iran.

Mr Cameron will use the trip to attempt to drum up billions of pounds worth of additional defence exports.

However, he will also promote British hospitals, such as Great Ormond Street and King's College, which are looking to expand overseas as part of a wider Government initiative to "sell" the NHS around the world.

It is understood that Great Ormond Street was recently awarded preferred bidder status to create the UAE's first ever dedicated paediatric hospital, while King's is also interested in running new specialised treatment centres in the region.

Downing Street aides pointed out that this was Mr Cameron's second visit to both countries since taking office, underlining the strategic and economic importance of the region to Britain.

However, the emphasis on defence sales is likely to concern arms trade campaigners.

Mr Cameron is said to want to significantly boost the British defence industry – worth £5.4bn in annual exports. The Prime Minister will use the trip to specifically promote the Typhoon jet to Gulf leaders.

The Emirates have shown interest in placing an order for up to 60 jets and Mr Cameron will fly to a military airbase near Dubai along with the deputy chief of staff of the UAE armed forces and the Emirates' minister of state for foreign affairs to inspect the aircraft.

Downing Street said the sale of Typhoon jets to the UAE was just one element of a "much more concerted effort" to establish a long-term strategic defence partnership with the country.

Mr Cameron will discuss with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the UAE prime minister how best to develop a strategic air defence relationship, specifically potential collaboration on the development of the next generation of military aerospace equipment.

"Such joint co-operation would mark a new step in the Government's development of defence equipment which has traditionally been with NATO allies," a spokeswoman said.

Mr Cameron faces a tough balancing act, however, as he attempts to secure billions in investment from the oil-rich states while addressing concerns about their human rights records. The Arab Spring has led to an increased focus on autocratic rule in many states, including crackdowns on pro-democracy and other protest movements.

The Government has been criticised for failing to condemn abuses and accused of continuing to sell military equipment with insufficient guarantees it would not be used in repression.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Bris...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply SEN Support Jobs in Glou...

Humanities and Economics Teacher - January 2015 - Malaysia

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

SEN Teaching Assistant needed for long term assignment

£45 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experienc...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain